Archive for June, 2012

Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (male)

June 30, 2012

A Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted along the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its reddish-orange coloration and the terminal appendages at the end of its abdomen.

Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies and Golden-winged Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula auripennis) are similar in appearance. Refer to the following gallery of graphics for aid in identifying the two species. Row 1: Diagnosis of Libellula needhami; Diagnosis of Libellula auripennis. Row 2: Diagnostic features of several specimens of Libellula needhami (Needham’s Skimmer); Diagnostic features of several specimens of Libellula auripennis (Golden-winged Skimmer). Source Credit: Graphics used with written permission from Gayle and Jeanell Strickland.

Copyright © 2012-2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Advertisements

Blue Dasher dragonfly (male, in flight)

June 28, 2012

One of several male Blue Dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis) spotted in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual was patrolling a small area of the wetland, flying approximately one foot above the water surface when I shot these photos.

P1100739-rw2-ver3_apertureP1100738-rw2-ver3_apertureP1100737-rw2-ver3_aperture

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Swamp Darner dragonfly (male)

June 26, 2012

The following gallery shows a Swamp Darner dragonfly (Epiaeschna heros) spotted during a photowalk along the “Hike-Bike Trail” at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its terminal appendages. (Notice the “brushes” on the inner sides of the cerci.)

According to Odonata Central, Dragonfly Society of the Americas …

This [very] large common species has brilliant blue eyes and a brown body with green thoracic stripes and narrow green abdominal rings. The wings are often heavily tinged with amber. … The caudal appendages are long in both sexes. The male appendages are complex and distinctly hairy [as shown in Photo 4 of 4].

This individual was so long from head to tail it was virtually impossible to zoom in to show detail while showing the entire dragonfly.

Since Swamp Darner dragonflies perch vertically, the photos in the preceding gallery were rotated 180 degrees in order to create face-on views of the dragonfly, shown below in the same order as the first gallery.

Related Resources: Digital Dragonflies, presenting high-resolution digital scans of living dragonflies.

  • Genus EpiaeschnaEpiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | male | top view
  • Genus EpiaeschnaEpiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | male | side view
  • Genus EpiaeschnaEpiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | female | top view
  • Genus EpiaeschnaEpiaeschna heros | Swamp Darner | female | side view

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Question Mark butterfly redux

June 24, 2012

A Question Mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis), as indicated by the two white marks on the underside of its wings that resemble the punctuation mark of the same name (shown in Photo 2 of 2). I spotted this individual during a photowalk through the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park.

P1090234_-_version_2P1090215_-_version_2

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (immature male)

June 22, 2012

A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) spotted along “Heron Trail” at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by the pale blue pruinescence that does not cover its body completely.

P1110040-rw2-ver3_apertureP1110040-rw2-ver2_aperture

Notice the immature male Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly resembles the female of the same species.

Males often go through an immature stage in which they are patterned much like females but then change dramatically at maturity by adding a layer of pruinosity (a powdery bloom much like the one we see on plums) to part or all of their thorax and abdomen. Most pruinosity is whitish to pale blue. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 696-698). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Green Heron

June 20, 2012

The following photos show a Green Heron (Butorides virescens) spotted in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park.

P1100555-rw2-ver2_apertureP1100550-rw2-ver2_apertureP1100548-rw2-ver2_aperture

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (females, in flight)

June 18, 2012

A couple of female Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (Erythemis simplicicollis) spotted in a meadow located at least 100 yards from the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. Notice that the Eastern Pondhawk flies with its fore-legs curled around the head, mid-legs tucked under the thorax, and hind legs extended straight out (toward the posterior end of the dragonfly) underneath the abdomen.

P1110185-rw2-ver2_apertureP1110195-rw2-ver2_aperture

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Barn Swallow (male)

June 16, 2012

A Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) spotted in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its rust-colored breast.

P1100586-rw2-ver3_apertureP1100593-rw2-ver2_apertureP1100594-rw2-ver2_aperture

According to “All About Birds,” Cornell Lab of Ornithology …

True to their name, they build their cup-shaped mud nests almost exclusively on human-made structures.

An experienced birder told me Barn Swallows build their nests under the boardwalk that goes through the wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans)

June 14, 2012

A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) spotted during a photowalk through the “Wildlife Sanctuary,” one of seven small parks owned and maintained by the Community Association of Hollin Hills, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an adult male, as indicated by its blue coloration and the male terminal appendages (claspers) located at the end of its abdomen. Contrast the appearance of a male Great Blue Skimmer with two females of the same species.

P1090519-rw2-ver2_apertureP1090509-rw2-ver2_apertureP1090535-rw2-ver2_apertureP1090566-rw2-ver2_apertureP1090575-rw2-ver2_aperture

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly redux

June 12, 2012

A Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

The flowering plant upon which the butterfly is feeding may be Arrow-wood (Viburnum dentatum), according to Alonso Abugattas, Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County Parks, Virginia USA.

P1080767-rw2-ver2_apertureP1080730-rw2-ver3_aperture

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


%d bloggers like this: