There is a poem.
I got out to one of my dragonfly ponds
today, for a photoprowl. Mid-80s and
clear, but with enough breeze to make
it tolerable…pleasant actually…and lots
of dragons and damsels doing their thing
around the pond. Eastern Amberwings,
my first this year, not much bigger than
a bee, but holding their own among
dragons 4 times their size…flying low
to the water like orange sparks, resting
on floating clumps, clots of algae, males
and females playing tag across the pond.
I kept hoping one would land close in
to shore for a photo, but they held well
out, busy with Amberwing concerns,
and I had to settle for distant shots…
so little they are, they hardly show
in the frame, and wouldn’t at all if they
were any other color. Amberwings.
And that says all you need to know.
One of my favorite Dragonflies and one of the smallest. A skimmer. The males like this one have bright orange wings…the females have clear wings with orange/brown spots…the same color as the body. Like all skimmers, they take no guff from anyone…including the much larger Green Darners and Black-saddlebags that frequent the same ponds in our area…not to mention the Twelve-spotted and Widow Skimmers. You rarely see them more than a few inches above the water, so they only really share airspace with the Azure Bluets with abound at this time of year.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/320th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Cropped heavily for scale (about equivalent to 1200mm field of view) and processed in Lightroom.
Sometimes a Dragonfly is just too freshly emerged to id…which, at least at my level of experience, is the case here. I think it is one of the Meadowhawks, but it was on its maiden flight and I just can’t be sure which one, or even that it is a meadowhawk. It was very patient with me as I worked my way closer and fiddled with the Program Shift for this macro. I hope it woke up and moved on before the hunting Cedar Waxwings found it. 🙂
Sony RX10iii at 1200mm equivalent field of view (2x Clear Image Zoom). Program shift for greater depth of field. f9 @ 1/60th @ ISO 100. I could not really stop down any more, as there was some wind, and the position was awkward to hold the camera steady. Processed in Lightroom.
Here at the height of a unusually hot summer in Southern Maine, we have fewer dragonflies than I remember from last year. I went to Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport yesterday in hopes of finding Mosaic Darners patrolling the meadows, but there were none at all. Lots of mosquitoes…probably, in part at least, because there were no dragons. The Mosaic Darners are among my favorite dragons. They big and generally boldly marked, and there is a certain elegance to their wasp wasted look and elaborate male appendages.
When I found little to photograph (and the sun very hot) in the open meadows at Emmon’s, I decided to drive the mile or so to Smith’s Preserve, where the trails are shaded by the forest. Parking is limited at Smith’s, and sometimes completely taken up by SUVs with bike racks, as the trails are very popular with mountain bikers. (SUVs with bike racks…that is a sad comment on our times.) I did find a place to park (the last one). It was quiet at Smith’s as well, though there was more bird song, and it was considerably cooler, and I did spot this Mosaic Darner patrolling a section of the trail. It hung up on a small pine along the side, and I was able to work my way close enough for a photo. I am thinking this is a Shadow Darner, but I could be wrong.
The light was not ideal in the deep shade, so this image is taken at ISO 1250. (1/250th @ f4 @ 541mm equivalent, zoomed back a bit to fit the full bug in). During processing in Lightroom, I ran it through the NIK Define 2 filter to eliminate some of the noise.
Until last year at this time, I had never seen a Halloween Pennant…and then I found one on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area near my home in southern Maine. After that first sighting I saw several in different spots around home. This year I have been on the look-out for them on each trip to Day Brook Pond. When I got to the pond on Saturday there were several dozen Pennants paired up and flying in tandem over the pond, ovapositing by dabbing the water sharply. I assumed they were Calico Pennants as they have been abundant around the pond so far this season, but then I found first a single male and then this mating pair of Halloween Pennants along the shore. That brought my assumption into question, so I had to try for a flight shot of the ovaposing pairs over the water. Not easy, but I eventually managed a shot that shows clearly that the mated pairs over the pond are indeed Calicos.
Both shots with the Sony RX10iii. Halloween Pennants at 1200mm (2x Clear Image zoom). Program shifted for greater depth of field. f8 @ 1/125 @ ISO 100. Processed and cropped slightly in Lightroom. Flight shot of the Calico Pennants using my custom Sports Mode. 300mm @ 1/1000th @ f4.5 @ ISO 100. Cropped heavily for scale.
I posed a pic of the Ebony Jewelwing in the shade a few weeks ago, showing the abdomen as a bright metallic blue…but when the bug lights or flies in the sun, it shows as bright green with just a hit of blue. When two males contest territory in and out of the spots of sun over a little rapid in a stream, gyrating around each other, it is one of the more spectacular sights in the world of Odonata.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/400th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
There are still lots of Calico Pennants emerging every day at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, though they must disperse widely, since I only ever see a few adult males at the pond at any given time. This beautiful specimen landed right at my feet, on a stalk a foot tall, so I only had to bend over a bit for this shot. They really should have named this dragon the Valentines Pennant.
Sony RX10iii at 840mm equivalent field of view (600mm plus in-camera crop to 10mp). 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
I posted a shot of another Calico Pennant from Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area with yesterday’s Day Poem, but the bug deserves another shot…or two. I am sure I will photograph many more before the season is over. They are a beautiful dragonfly.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom. This is a full frame, uncropped shot at 600mm. This camera is so much fun!
It is an odd year (so far) for Jewelwings at Emmon’s Preserve along the Batson River. I only found one River Jewelwing when they should have been out, and now the Ebony Jewelwings are way early…but I have yet to find one by the little falls in the river where they usually congregate. So far I have only seen them deep in the woods. In fact, I walked a loop of trail I had not been planning on to find this one…a loop that runs through the forest far from the steam. There was only intermittent sun anyway, and under the big pines there was none…so this is what an Ebony Jewelwing looks like in the shade. Without direct sun, you don’t see the brilliant emerald green metallic sheen of the thorax and abdomen. There is a hint here, but mostly you see the basic blue.
Sony RX10iii at 1100mm equivalent field of view (in-camera crop to 5mp). 1/250th @ ISO 500 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
This is another teneral bug…a newly emerged Aurora Damsel (damselfly). The color will be more bluish when it finishes hardening off into its full adult form, but the pattern on the back is distinctive.
Sony RX10iii at 840mm equivalent (in camera crop at 600mm equivalent). I used Direct Manual Focus to fine tune the focus on the damsel’s head. 1/320th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
There continue to be lots of teneral (newly emerged) dragonflies at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in W. Kennbunk Maine. I saw at least 3 different species on my last visit. Most are Lancet Clubtails and Chalk-fronted Corporals, the two most common dragonflies at the pond in early summer…but this one appears to be a Whiteface. It looks to me most like a Frosted Whiteface, but Belted is also possible, and from there, perhaps even Dot-tailed.That is if it is a Whiteface at all 🙂 It is really difficult to id from my guides because tenerals are not pictured or described (since they only last in that form for a day or less).
Sony RX10iii at 840mm (in-camera crop from 600mm optical). 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom. (I am really enjoying the tel-macro abilities of the RX10iii 🙂