Aeshna affinis

UK: Southern Migrant Hawker
DE: Südliche Mosaikjungfer
FR: Aeschne affine
NL: Zuidelijke glazenmaker
This dragonfly species requires a relatively warm climate and appears towards the end of the dragonfly season. Pictures shown here were taken in Austria where I located two fragile populations. No more than 4 to 5 A. affinis male dragonflies were sited at any one time however both populations were observed during the month of August for three consecutive years since 2003.  

Aeshna affinis - Female

The third picture of this series is interesting, the female was ovipositing quite far away from the water.

Aeshna affinis - Immature male

Most of the photographed A. affinis remained in one place for more than 10 minutes. It is interesting how all the sclerites of the immature male already have all the key signatures that make this dragonfly an Aeshna affinis. The light green will make way for some of the most splendid colours displayed by any dragonfly species found in Europe.

Aeshna affinis - Male

The 16th picture shows a dragonfly with a considerable side wound of some sort. Not certain what may have caused it. 

Aeshna affinis - Copula

Aeshna caerulea

UK: Azure hawker
DE: Alpen Mosaikjungfer
FR: Aeschne azurée
NL: Azuurglazenmaker
These pictures were taken in Lech Austria at about 1400 meters altitude. The only dragonflies I encountered here were A. caerulea und A. juncea. This picture actually shows both Aeshna dragonflies side by side (A. juncea on the left).

Aeshna caerulea - Male

This was the only A. caerulea I encountered in Lech so no second chance of better pictures. Only one day with nice weather so that didn't help...

Aeshna cyanea  

UK: Southern Hawker
DE: Blaugrüne Mosaikjungfer
FR: Aeschne bleue
NL: Blauwe glazenmaker
A very common dragonfly that appears acros Europe. This dragonfly can be spotted in forests and fields, quite far away from the nearest water. Twice I had a dragonfly fly into my house, both times it was a female A. cyanea. Simply take a long stick like a bamboo rod, gently push it under its legs until it holds onto the stick. Than gently move the stick outside. Yes this works, no it won't sting or bite you! :-)
A typical A. cyanea habitat in the Belgium dunes nearby Antwerp.

Aeshna cyanea - Female

A. cyanea is are common for most parts of Europe and can be found all throughout the summer months.
Aeshna cyanea - Female emergence
Aeshna cyanea - Female exuviae

Aeshna cyanea - Male   Updated 2010

A. cyanea are very difficult to photograph since they are always on the move.

Aeshna grandis

UK: Brown Hawker
DE: Braune Mosaikjungfer
FR: Grande Aeschne
NL: Bruine Glazenmaker
Aeshna grandis stands out from other Aeshna dragonflies due to its overall brown colour a touch of which even returns on its wings. This makes the appearance of this dragonfly quite impressive during flight as the slightly darker wings make it look larger.

Aeshna grandis - Female 

These pictures were taken in Bavaria during a mid September visit. This was the only A. grandis around at that time. This dragonfly species shares its biological habitat with Aeshna mixta (large numbers), Onychogomphus forcipatus (from a nearby river originating from this lake), Sympetrum flaveolum (very rare sightings) and Orthetrum cancellatum (very frequent in Europe)

Aeshna isosceles

UK: Norfolk Hawker
DE: Keilflecklibelle
FR: Aeschne iscele
NL: Vroege Glazenmaker   
I find these one of the nicest dragonfly species around. Like A. affinis it is not easily startled and stays in one place for a longer period which makes for great photos. The immature dragonflies are almost orange and turn darker brown as they grow older (=within days). The pictures shown here were taken in Vienna Austria where I found a fragile group of no more than 5 or 6 of these dragonflies at the time. The population appears to be sustaining despite the terrible summer of 2006 and 2007.

Aeshna isosceles - Female

It has taken me two years before I was able to take these pictures. Even with several male A. isosceles present it can be very difficult to spot let alone take a decent picture of the female counterpart.  

Aeshna isosceles - Male

A. isosceles shares it's biotope with;
- Libellula quadrimaculata (frequent occurring dragonfly that is slow and easier to catch by birds than A. isosceles)
- Libellula fulva (I found both A. isosceles males and L. fulva males to "share" the same "stakeout" in close proximity, without L. fulva being eaten by its larger counterpart...)
- Leucorrhinia pectoralis (a very rare moor dragonfly)
The best time to find these great dragonflies is during the end of June and the start July.

Aeshna juncea

UK: Common Hawker
DE: Torf Mosaikjungfer
FR: Aeschne des joncs
NL: Venglazenmaker
These pictures were taken in Lech, Austria at about 1400 meter altitude. A. juncea are quite remarkable dragonflies. 

Aeshna juncea - Female

A group, both males and females were just "dangling around" at about 3 meters from the ground in the surrounding pine trees. The nearby river had freezing cold water. I could not find any other more hospitable water in the area where they could have emerged from.

Aeshna juncea - Male

All pictures were taken in August.

Aeshna mixta

UK: Migrant Hawker
DE: Herbst Mosaikjungfer
FR: Aeschne mixte
NL: Paardenbijter
This is a common dragonfly for most parts of Europe. The pictures shown here were taken in Bavaria and Hessen the time frame was late in September. I was surprised how well A. mixta can withstand cold temperatures during the night. The night before these pictures were taken, the temperatures were close to 4 Celsius.

Aeshna mixta - Male

This is as close as you can get! By the way, 99% of the pictures were taken without flash, this is important when working at a close range. Always consider the wellbeing of the animal you photograph over everything else. If the picture dark due to bad weather conditions the dragonfly is probably suffering already from these weather conditions.

Anax imperator Updated 2008

UK: Emperor Dragonfly
DE: Große Königslibelle
FR: Anax empereur
NL: Grote Keizerlibel
A. imperator is one of the largest dragonflies and occurs abundant across Europe. A. imperator can be sited nearby the water or in surrounding fields nearby. Having said that, A. imperator are quite difficult to photograph since they are always on the move. Finally on June 22 2008 I managed to get some nice shots of male A. imperator that go quite well with the female A. imperator shots I made last year. So this site finally contains some decent pictures of a female and male A. imperator. Another nice thing is that I managed to get a picture of a female A. imperator that is partially blue, something several identification guides mention but never actually show. 

Anax imperator - Female

The following image shows a adult female, note the blue colouration.

Anax imperator - Male

Anax imperator - Copula

Anax parthenope

UK: Lesser Emperor
DE: Kleine Königslibelle
FR: Anax napolitain
NL: Zuidelijke Keizerlibel

I have only found two small fragile populations of A. parthenope in Austria. They re-appear each season at the beginning of June but only in small numbers. One location was is a shallow river that is quite wide (6 to 10 meters @ 40 cm depth) allowing the water temperature to rise.

Anax parthenope - Male

All pictures were taken nearby Vienna Austria during the middle of May and the start of June.

Anax parthenope - Copula/Tandem

I found the Tandem to be unexpected since most dragonflies of the Anax and Aeshna sort will not from a tandem after mating.

Brachytron pratense

UK: Hairy Dragonfly
DE: Frühe Schilfjäger
FR: Aeschne printanière
NL: Glassnijder 
I am always glad to see B. pratense since they are mostly the first Anisoptera dragonflies to start of the season. They are considerably smaller than the Anax or Aeshna dragonflies. 

Brachytron pratense - Female

Brachytron pratense - Male