Monday, August 8, 2011

Another Dragonfly Afternoon At Whitetail Lake

And yet another trip to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center at Clybel Wildlife Management Area in Jasper County, Georgia. We weren’t checking on Clasping Milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis) seed pods this time. Since we’d seen a Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni) here last week, we thought we’d go by Whitetail Lake again and see if we could spot another one.

Again, there didn’t seem to be much activity when first drove down to the lake. Even when I walked down to the water’s edge, I didn’t see as many dragonflies as we saw last time. They were there, but in the heat of the afternoon – we measured the temperature in the shade at 94F a little later – they weren’t very active, possibly because their dinner, insects, weren’t flying either.

The first dragonfly I spotted was a Banded Pennant (Celithemis fasciata). Just one. A female. We saw Banded Pennants for the first time at the Piedmont NWR a few weeks ago. This one was perched on a twig over the water. A nice surprise.

A male Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis). We’ve seen a number of females this year, but these were the first males we’ve seen.

A male Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta). They’ve been around the pond for months. They’re not colorful but they always seem to have a nice disposition.

Widow Skimmers (Libellula luctuosa). This one’s a male. The Banded Pennant, Eastern Pondhawk and Slaty Skimmers appear to be ‘shy’ and ‘well-behaved’ – keeping to themselves and not making waves. On the other hand, the Widow Skimmers – deliberately or inadvertently – act like the bullies of the pond. They fly purposefully and, on occasion, seem to dive at other dragonflies along their route. The large dark patches on their wings make them appear larger than they actually are, and may simply intimidate other dragonflies on the pond.

Then there are the ‘cutie pies’, the Amberwings (Perithemis tenera). They’re about one-half the size of the other dragonflies. Several males, including these, were flying unobtrusively ‘below the radar’ seeming not to want to be seen.

And then there were the ‘stars’ of the day. The dragonflies we had specifically come to see. At least two Two-striped Forceptails (Aphylla williamsoni) were on the pond. For their size, they were also well-behaved, even shy dragonflies. They flew a ‘low-profile’ path, staying out of the way of the other dragonflies. This dragon was repeatedly displaced from its perch by Widow Skimmers so it sought out a perch out of the way along the shore. it alighted on a twig close to the shore and posed prettily for quite a long time. But more of it soon.

So, despite the heat, we were rewarded with quite a procession of dragonflies again. Well worth sitting out in the hot sun to photograph.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Related posts:

- Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center: Whitehall Lake
- Dragonfly Afternoon At Whitetail Lake
- Dragonfly: Banded Pennant (Celithemis fasciata)
- Dragonfly: Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)
- Dragonfly: Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)
- Dragonfly: Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)
- Dragonfly, Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)
- Dragonfly: Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni)

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