Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dragonflies on the Brain

It's been a busy week of dragonfly hunting around the Shaffer house. I am totally addicted, as my loving and patient wife can attest, and the kiddos seem to enjoy it as well.

The Tule Bluet that the Sweet Pea found the other day was confirmed by Odonata Central, thus bringing us to four county records! Which I am pretty geeked about and the Boyo thinks is awesome. Sweet Pea is pretty indifferent to the excitement of her county record, but is convinced that the Tule Bluet is her own personal damselfly.

Today the Boyo had a good day at school, so as a reward we headed to the lake for another 30 minute blitz. We once again saw a multitude of Eastern Forktails...

And I got some pretty good shots of male Widow Skimmers zooming across the lake...

Then we came upon the "seedy side" of the natural world.

DISCLAIMER: If you will be scarred or scared by the sight of death and sex, READ NO FURTHER!!!

We found an unfortunate Widow Skimmer becoming a meal for a big, ugly spider.

The Boyo was ready to valiantly rescue the Skimmer and be his friend. But I convinced him that it was way too late for a rescue, and we had a talk about the whole circle of life thing. He was ok with it after a while, and thought that at least the spider wouldn't be hungry over the winter. We'll save the freezing death part of nature for another talk on another day.

As we walked around the lake, we spotted two dragonflies zooming over the lake, joined tail to head. I tried getting a shot of them in flight...

but they were just too fast.(see the two reddish blurs in the middle of the other blur) After a little more hunting, and spotting another male Widow Skimmer...

And mature female Eastern Forktails...

We started back for the car, and these two landed on a twig a couple of feet over my head.

I took pictures by holding the camera up and firing away, hoping, hoping, hoping for something usable.

Over 300 shots later, the mating duo got tired of being photographed and zoomed away...

So far on all of our hunts, we have seen a species we have not seen before. I'm putting together a little picture list of the ones we've seen and when/where/what time we saw them. Eventually I am certain we will go hunting and just see the same ones we've seen before. When that happens I guess we'll have to go to another county and start scouting there!

Many thanks to the Wife, and to those of you still reading, for your patience with this latest obsession.

More Later

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