Sunday, August 21, 2011

Halloween Pennants In A Storm

Halloween Pennants (Celithemis eponina) are one of my favorite dragonflies and I never pass up the opportunity to photograph them – even in the rain.

We went down to the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Jones County, Georgia yesterday. We went up to Pond 2A.

Pond 2A is southwest of the pond in section #6 that we visited a few weeks ago. The route to Pond 2A requires going south on Starr Road to the bridge over Little Falling Creek and then taking a road north to the pond.

It wasn’t raining when we arrived at the pond although the skies were quite gray and it was windy. It looked like it might rain.

We drove slowly across the dam, looking for dragonflies. By the time we reached the north end of the dam it was raining.

In fact, it was pouring

The only dragonflies we could see were Halloween Pennants. At first, they looked like dead leaves hanging onto the tips of grass blades. And then they’d adjust their wings to cope with a change in the wind speed or direction and it was clear they were dragonflies. They were the only dragonflies that were obvious, I did see a Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta) and a Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) sheltering down in the grass. The Halloween Pennants, however, were riding out the storm – including the pouring rain - on the tips of twigs or grass stems looking like they were really enjoying the weather.

A male adjusting his wings in a sudden gust of wind. The salmon colored segments near the tip of the front wings are a dead giveaway that this is a male.

Another male. This one was clinging to a twig at the edge of the water. I managed to make my way down the dam to get a closer shot. The salmon-colored markings on the dorsal side of the abdomen are visible in this photograph.

A female clinging to a twig. The cream segments near the tip of the front wings are clearly visible. She is also lighter in color than the males above.

I disturbed this female when I attempted to get close to her. She flew down into the grass and settled on a grass stem. Soon after I left, she flew back up onto a twig in the open. The cream-colored dorsal markings are just visible in this photo.

I think this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see male and female Halloween Pennants at relatively close quarters in the same place. Although it was nice to see the salmon- and cream-pigmented segments on the wings to differentiate between the males and females, it was easy to distinguish one from the other by the overall darkness of the males compared with the females.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- Georgia Dragonfly Survey: Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)

- BugGuide: Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)
[Male] [Female]

Related posts:

- First Halloween Pennant Of The Season

- Dragonfly: Halloween Pennant

- Zen: Halloween Pennant on Rush by Water’s Edge

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