Monday, September 7, 2009

Dragonfly: Blue-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum ambiguum)

Just when I think I’ve seen all of the dragonfly species I’m going to see this year, I find another one. A few days ago, after the cool spell, I went out to the shallow pool by the greenhouse and found a frenzy of dragonflies. At least there were four dragonflies representing at least three species. This number qualifies as a frenzy for this small pool. More about them in future posts. Actually, I’d planned to start those posts today but this is more exciting.

Anyway, today I went out after it had warmed up to see if there were any dragonflies. Nothing. I was a little disappointed but as I surveyed the pool I noticed a small red dragonfly that I had never seen before. It was smaller than the Eastern Pondhawk. I couldn’t focus on it with the zoom lens so I decided to circle the pool to see if I could focus from that angle. Still no luck. Nothing for it but to try and step down into the pool and see if I could get close enough to get a shot using the macro lens. Amazingly I was able to. That side of the pool was relatively dry.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum ambiguum) [Male]

So I edged my way over to it and got this shot. I took several photographs before I spooked it. It flew calmly and quietly – like the Eastern Pondhawks – over to a grass stalk behind me.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum ambiguum) [Male]

Then I got these shots. I noted previously that I can get closer to dragonflies if I hold the camera in front of me. I checked today and, for the closest photograph, I was holding the camera about three inches from him.

Given the variety of dragonflies that visit this pool and the hit-and-miss way I’m finding them, I joked with W the other day that we needed a table, umbrella and chairs by the pool to be able to sit by the pool and monitor for dragonflies. Maybe we should think seriously about it next year.

Identification resources:

- Dragonflies of Georgia: Blue-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum ambiguum)
- BugGuide: Slaty Skimmer Blue-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum ambiguum) [Male] [Female]

Click the image to view a larger image

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