The Calico Pennant is another of my favorite dragonflies. This is my first-of-the-season, taken at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area here in southern Maine. If this year is like past years, there will Calico Pennants in numbers around the pond for several months now. Perhaps they are among my favorites because they are so easy to photograph…Pennants perch on the tips of vegetation and they often return to the same perch for several moments at a time…and they perch more or less horizontally…like a flag or pennant in the wind. It does take faster shutter speeds, because, like that flag in the wind, they are always in motion as the air moves around them. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed and cropped in Polarr.
In the field, taking these photographs, I thought I had a male and female Spangled Skimmer, but when preparing this post I realized that the second one is a immature male. The Spangled Skimmer is one of my favorite dragonflies. As it flies the white stigma flash in a fascinating pattern with the complex motion of the wings. It is not quite so spectacular when perched but it is still an attractive dragon. These shots are at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area here in Southern Maine. It is a common dragonfly and I also photographed them this week at the Southern Maine Medical Center ponds here in Kennebunk. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
This might be a Maine State Record for Golden-winged Skimmer. I made a loop out through the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area and around by Old Falls and Old Falls Pond on the Mousam River on my ebike as a Sunday Photoprowl. I spent quite a while at Day Brook Pond on the Plains as there were several interesting species of dragonflies. And then there was this one. It was perching a good 25 feet out into the pond and not coming any closer to shore, and it always perched facing the same direction so my photos all show the same view. Still, it looks good for Golden-winged. I got one confirmation on the Northeast Odonata Facebook group, and I have submitted the photos to Odonata Central. Even if it “only” a Needham’s there are very few records of Needham’s in Maine either, so that will still be something. Such a big orange bug! Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent (2x Clear Image Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
The damsel and dragonflies are finally out in some numbers at our local hotspots, at least on days when it does not rain all day. Yesterday was one of our warmest days so far in the high 70’s (today will reach the 80s) and I found several species active around the drainage ponds at Southern Maine Medical Center. This pair of Green Darners landed right in front of me, on the outer surface of the wall of cattail reeds that now surrounds the pond (and makes dragonflying there a challenge). Sometimes you get blessed though. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
These might be the earliest Ebony Jewelwings I have ever seen in Maine…and I saw them far from the streams where I have seen them in the past. These were along the Eastern Trail…a bicycle and walking trail that will eventually run the length of Maine…and, as part of the Atlantic Greenway, from Florida north. The section from Kennebunk to Biddeford runs along over an existing natural gas pipeline so all they had to do was build a bike and pedestrian bridge over I95. It has been done for several years now. The Jewelwings were fluttering over the trail as I rode my ebike along, and I got stopped in time to track them into the nearby forest for these photos. I find Ebony Jewelwings fascinating…not in the least because of how the color of the metallic body parts changes so radically as the light changes. These, in this light, were showing almost no green. They were an electric blue. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
The early Odes are finally emerging (or arriving) in southern Maine. This is somewhat worn (so migrant) male Painted Skimmer from Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk. I saw it over the pond first, with its wings flashing orange in the sun, and tracked it down to the shallow end of the pond to find its perch. I waited it out through several hunting sorties out over the pond but it came back to the same twig and I worked my way closer until I got this shot at 840mm equivalent (1.4x Smart Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
I went out for a photoprowl on my ebike to Emmon’s Preserve (Kennebunkport Conservation Trust), mainly to see if there were any River Jewelwings (damselflies) flying. I have seen River Jewelwings only once in my life, and that was in June at Emmon’s Preserve. Not yesterday. One of my goals for this summer is to photograph more dragonflies…and damselflies…odonata in general. My fascination with the form and function…the odd beauty of odonata, continues. Yesterday there was a medium sized dragonfly hunting in one of the little alcoves off the trail around the big meadow. These alcoves, sheltered from the wind on three sides, are often great spots for dragons. It looked, and acted, like a baskettail to me, in flight, and I waited ten minutes to see if it would perch (I have waited on baskettails before with no success.) This one, however, eventually did perch and I got a few shots. So of course I spent 30 minutes there waiting for it to perch again…and it did, twice more. I am never quite sure of my dragonfly ids…we have over 130 species recorded in York County Maine…and, even if a baskettail, there are quite a few baskettails it could have been. I am definitely a novice and I have no experience of iding dragons in the hand. This made an ideal trial for a new app I recently downloaded. Odes by Fieldguides.ai The Fieldguides series of apps (Everything, Odes, Leps, Birds, Plants, and Fungi) is a crowd sourced identification app. Folks submit photos and details, and when you submit a photo the ai engine attempts to identify whatever you submitted. I submitted my photo and the app suggested Beaverpond Baskettail. I was able to study several dozen other photos ided as Beaverpond, and concluded that the app was correct. A quick check with my DragonFly ID app pretty much confirmed it. I could still be wrong, but I have a fair degree of confidence that this is indeed a Beaverpond Baskettail (until someone who knows better tells me otherwise). Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
After seeing a few dragonflies in Florida when I visited Key West and the Dry Tortugas, and one dragonfly when in Ohio, I have been eagerly checking my local ponds for my first Maine dragon of the season. Earlier in the week I stopped by the Southern Maine Medical Center drainage ponds here in town, one of my most productive dragonfly spots over the years. Nothing happening. Yesterday, only a few days later, there were at least a dozen Common Green Darners hunting over the water and the adjacent parking lot. Green Darners are highly migrant and these are probably last year’s darners returning from a winter spent further south, and they were mostly males, but I caught at least one pair in the act of depositing eggs in the reeds at the edge of the pond. Things are looking up! Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
We are in New Mexico to visit our daughter and work the Festival of the Cranes, but yesterday was a travel day so today’s Pic still comes from Texas. The birding was somewhat slow at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge south of Alamo Texas when I visited last week, but there were lots of Butterflies and Dragonflies. This Blue Dasher posed nicely on its twig, giving me a good close up portrait of the face and wings.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode. Processed in PhotoShop Express on my Android tablet.
Though there was not much water coming over Cascade Falls when I visited on Friday last, there were many Ebony Jewelwings over the stream below the falls. They seemed to like to perch in patches of sun on the rocks and broken branches in the stream. There is nothing so shinny as Ebony Jewelwing in the sun. It looks like it is forged in aluminum and anodized green. Even the wings have their metallic sheen.
Sony RX10iii at about 1100mm equivalent field of view. (Optical plus 2x Smart Digital Tel-converter). 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Lightroom.