I haven’t been “dragon hunting” in some time so today’s mission was to shoot a few. One I bagged today — a male Halloween Pennant (?) — at the Medina County Park District’s Letha House Park West. I saw and photographed several varieties and missed a couple. It looks like it will be a fine Dragonfly Summer.
We’ve not been out much on nature hikes this year. We did, however, pay a brief visit to a local park Saturday, and spotted a few dragonflies. This is one of many Autumn Meadowhawks we observed that afternoon at the Medina County Park District’s Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary. These red beauties are usually the last dragonfly seen each year with a flight season that begins in July and which can extend to mid-November.
One of many Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies we spotted this afternoon at theMedina County Park District’s Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary. These red beauties are usually the last dragonfly seen each year with a flight season that begins in July and which can extend to mid-November if there aren’t heavy frosts, according to the Wisconsin Wetlands Association.
Goodness! I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted here since February!! I’ve mostly been making short-form posts to Twitter and Instagram and neglecting this blog. So here we are in July and I’ll make a couple/few quick image posts with captions. These photos are from July 23 and 24 when local wildlife, here in the neighborhood of a small city, paid us extra-close visits.
Saturday, April 18 presented us with beautiful spring weather so we took off to see how the gardens, ponds, and woodlands at the Holden Arboretum were doing. Some garden paths remained closed for the season but we happily set off for higher ground and pools.
Dragonfly In Flight
Bird songs filled the air as we enjoyed early blooms and emerging animals including: a water snake warming itself on a tree branch, clusters of turtles also catching some sun, a couple of bullfrogs, and three ( 3 ) dragonflies! We will visit there again, likely in May when sustained warmth entices more life into view.
Revisiting the Mugrage Park of Medina County Park System, we spent a pleasant Labor Day afternoon photographing dragonflies. She Who Must Be Obeyed wanted her own chance at shooting a Calico Pennant and I was only too happy to return to the pond. Today I also bagged a beautiful Yellow-Legged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) — predominantly red, despite the name! This little beauty, however, posed for a few shots. I also got some very nice shots of a cooperative Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) — a good-sized, bluish beauty with gorgeous wing markings. Among the challenges was a refreshing breeze: nice for a hot afternoon but causing dragonfly perches to sway! There were plenty to choose from and a few very impressive specimens got away! That includes a beautiful, impressively-large, Common Green Darner … always on the move, always a bit too far away. But that’s the way it goes when you’re shooting dragons!
Checking out one of Medina County’s newest public spaces, Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park, this afternoon, we came across this beauty. The Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) is a small but very beautiful dragonfly. This male was very cooperative, posing for me several times. Eventually, however, he latched on to a mate and we watched their tandem flight and water-dipping dives; the pair was tapping the surface of their pond, depositing eggs! Happily for them, they escaped a large fish that was about to lunge for lunch.
I do love photographing dragonflies. Because they are relatively small, live by the water, and are very quick fliers, dragonfly photography can be frustrating. This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be exploring a hotbed of dragonfly activity and, for the first time, got some images of a beautiful indigo-colored flier: a male Slaty Skimmer. In flight, the Slaty is so dark it appears black. When resting on a plant stem or flower head, the male’s deep blue body shows its true color. Clear wings make the Slaty, and some other dragonflies, hard to photograph unless against a featureless background such as the pond in this photo. I plan to get out a few more times, specifically for “dragon hunting” this season and maybe even shoot some video.
While it’s often possible to shoot closeup photos of insects such as dragonflies, it’s not always necessary or even the best approach. I spent an enjoyable time this afternoon along the edge of a pond seeking one of my favorite subjects: dragonflies! I had some very good luck and even got some very nice shots of a Slaty Skimmer — a big, indigo blue dragon I don’t believe I’ve captured before. As I walked along beside the pond I looked out across the quiet waters and saw a tiny Eastern Amberwing perched on the top of a sunken tree trunk protruding from the surface. The weathered wood was dark and in silhouette, its form reflected on the water, but the little dragonfly glowed in sunlight. I shot image after image ’til finally the Amberwing flitted away. It wasn’t one of those highly-detailed, super-macro insect photos we often wonder at; I think I actually like it better. ‘Turns out, it was my favorite picture of the day! A closeup isn’t everything!