Despite its name, the Common Hawker is not as common a sighting in the New Forest as its Southern and Migrant Hawker counterparts.
Common Hawkers can easily be confused with both of these species, and will require close inspection of a photograph following a sighting in order to gain a 100% positive identification. As with most other Hawkers, the Common takes to the sky from mid summer onwards, and can be observed as late as October.
Both Male and Female of the species like to weave in and out of reed stems only about a foot above the water. Both are quite timid and not easily approached.
While sightings of Common Hawkers are cited across the New Forest, I have only made a 100% positive Identification in the small ponds and marshland by the edge of Ramsdown Forest near Christchuch in Dorset.
Males have a black abdomen that becomes tightly waisted toward the thorax, with a pair of blue spots on each abdominal segment. Males have a glossy appearance to their abdomen. Females are similar in size, however the body is a brown colour with yellow markings on the abdomen. Can be differentiated from the similar Migrant and Southern hawker by the characteristic yellow costa (the thick supportive margin at the front of the wing).