Often the first species to be noticed when approaching a stream or pond in the height of the summer. It is a highly active and aggressive dragonfly, and the large 'broad bodied' pastel blue abdomen of the male can be clearly seen as it patrols its chosen flight path. The males regularly perch in a favoured spot, and will return to within centimetres of where they previously landed. This makes photographing them less of a challenge.
Females only visit the water to copulate or for ovipositing. Males will frequently patrol above the female, and protect her during egg laying. The broad bodied and orange / yellow colouration of the female is striking in appearance and could easily be mistaken for a hornet when in flight. Females are often disturbed out of gorse bushes in areas often many 100s of metres from the waters edge. Females are less flighty than males, and more approachable for photography.
Widespread throughout the New Forest, Males can be found at most water bodies, often coming into conflict with Four Spotted Chasers. Females can often be found on the edge of Forest tracks, even when no body of water is obviously close by.
Very broad pulsing abdomen in both male and females. Males have a pastel blue abdomen flanked with yellow lateral spots (see image). Females resemble hornets in flight, have large yellow abdomen.
Females can often be mistaken for juvenile males, who also have a yellow abdomen. Both males and females have brown and orange markings at the base of the wings.