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  • September 2014

    Autumn bird migration continues throughout September and the Trust’s wetland nature reserves such as Rutland Water, Cossington Meadows, Wanlip Meadows and Kelham Bridge are the best places to experience it.

    The Hobby, a falcon that looks rather like a small Peregrine, is a summer visitor from Africa but stays here until quite late in the year and can sometimes be watched catching and eating dragonflies in the air. Any of the nature reserves mentioned above are possible places where this superb flier can be seen.

    As the month goes on there is also an increasing chance of seeing birds that will stay with us for the winter, such as Fieldfares and Redwings. Some dragonflies are still on the wing and if the weather is good large numbers of some of the large hawkers such as the dazzlingly blue Migrant Hawker can be seen.

    If the weather is wet, fungi become more obvious as they start to produce their fruiting bodies. Charnwood Lodge and Ulverscroft nature reserves are particularly good places to look for fungi such as the common but striking Fly Agaric. A large mushroom, it has a red cap with white spots and is poisonous.

    Species of the month: Migrant Hawker

    The Migrant Hawker is on the wing from the end of July through to early November. During this time it can be spotted hunting in gardens, grassland and woodland some distance from its breeding ponds. It is widespread and fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    The Migrant Hawker breeds in well vegetated aquatic habitats but is also recorded away from water along hedgerows and woodland edges. The male has pale blue spots and yellow flecks along the body, dark blue eyes and pale yellow and blue patches on the thorax. The female is brown with yellow spots. Both have a yellow ‘golf tee’ triangle on the abdomen.

    Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies. They catch insect-prey in mid-air and can hover of even fly backwards.

    If you have a photograph of a dragonfly you cannot identify you can email it to County Recorder Ian Merrill on [email protected]

    Photograph: Migrant Hawker (www.mattcolephography.co.uk)