Archive for June, 2011

Blue Dasher dragonfly

June 30, 2011
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A male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis), a member of the skimmer family of dragonflies, spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park. Similar in appearance to the Eastern Pondhawk and Great Blue Skimmer, the Blue Dasher can be recognized by its green eyes, white face, brown and yellow striped thorax, and black-tipped blue abdomen.

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Mating Sulphur butterflies

June 28, 2011

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A mating pair of Sulphur butterflies (Colias sp.) spotted during a photowalk through the Children’s Garden at Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Yellowjacket Hoverfly

June 26, 2011
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During a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park I spotted a Yellowjacket Hoverfly (Milesia virginiensis), a member of the Syrphidae family of flies, feeding on Swamp Rose flowers (Rosa palustris). This is one of the coolest insects I’ve ever seen. Look closely — it looks like it’s wearing sunglasses!

Self portraits

June 24, 2011

The following self portrait is entitled, “Kiss me and I’ll turn into a Prince!” I spotted an American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park. That’s my reflection in the water. (I was hanging over the edge of a boardwalk that goes through the wetlands.)

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Compare and contrast the preceding photograph with the following photo, taken more than an hour later than the first picture. Yep, that’s my reflection in the water again (shown below). What’s different? Did you notice that one of two snails shown in the first photograph is missing in the second photo? Frogs eat snails … hmmm, I wonder.

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Small Cabbage White butterfly

June 22, 2011

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I spotted a Small Cabbage White butterfly (Pieris sp.) feeding on an unknown plant during a photowalk through the Children’s Garden at Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School. This individual is a female, as indicated by two black spots on the center of its forewings. (Males have one black spot on their forewings.)

Green Frog

June 20, 2011
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A Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park. This individual may be a Bronze Frog, a subspecies of Green Frog. The green aquatic plant is duckweed. Duckweed oxygenates the water and provides shelter for animals like frogs.

Common Whitetail dragonfly

June 18, 2011

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A Common Whitetail skimmer dragonfly (Libellula lydia) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its white abdomen and the mid-wing brownish-black bands that go edge-to-edge on its translucent wings. Females have a brown body and a different pattern of wing spots (their mid-wing bands do not go edge-to-edge).

Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly revisited

June 16, 2011
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Another photo of the Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) I spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park on Monday, 13 June 2011. Look closely — the detail that is visible in the dragonfly’s wings is really astounding! The iPhone camera works remarkably well for such a simple device.

Editor’s Note: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Huh? Please do not be confused by the URL for this post — the dragonfly in the photograph (shown above) is definitely a “Great Blue Skimmer.” It turns out I misidentified this dragonfly as a “Blue Dasher” in my original post. Posterous derives the URL for a blog post from its title. If the title is changed after a post is published, then the URL does not change. That’s just one of the little idiosyncrasies of Posterous.

Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly

June 14, 2011
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I spotted a Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) during a long photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, a 1,425 acre wetland area in Fairfax County, Virginia. This individual is a male, as indicated by its blue coloration. (Females exhibit brown coloration.)

I shot this photo using an Apple iPhone 3GS. That means I had to get very close to the dragonfly to take a picture showing some detail. Dragonflies usually fly away when you get near them, but not this one. Call me crazy, but I think we bonded! I shot at least 20 photos of the dragonfly and it didn’t move. (More photos in a follow-up posting.) It blew my mind when the dragonfly flitted from its perch to land on my iPhone a few inches away. I wish I could have gotten a photo — it was incredible!

Editor’s Note: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Huh? Please do not be confused by the URL for this post — the dragonfly in the photograph (shown above) is definitely a “Great Blue Skimmer.” It turns out I misidentified this dragonfly as a “Blue Dasher” in my original post. Posterous derives the URL for a blog post from its title. If the title is changed after a post is published, then the URL does not change. That’s just one of the little idiosyncrasies of Posterous.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

June 12, 2011

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During a photowalk through the Children’s Garden at Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School I spotted an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) feeding on Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), a species of milkweed. This individual is a male, as indicated by the absence of blue and orange markings on the lower edge of its hindwings.

Tiger Swallowtail is the State Insect of Virginia. Who knew? I didn’t, that is, until I discovered a list of U.S. state insects.


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