Dragonflies are classified as either “fliers” or “perchers,” based upon their feeding habits. Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum ambiguum) are perchers.
Among the perchers, salliers watch for flying prey from a perch and fly up to capture it, whereas gleaners alternate perching with slow searching flights through vegetation, where they dart toward stationary prey and pick it from the substrate. Gleaners may also flush an insect and chase it through the air. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 293-295). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
Blue-faced Meadowhawks are salliers.
I would call it a sallier, definitely, with the caveat that many odonates that capture flying insects (both hawkers and salliers) may occasionally take them from the substrate (and gleaners may pursue insects they flush and catch them in the air). Source Credit: Personal communication from Dennis Paulson.
I observed the following male perching on the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park.
A short time later the dragonfly flew upward suddenly and landed on a nearby perch. The following photo shows the dragonfly eating an unknown insect. Notice the cream-colored insect leg extending from the dragonfly’s mouth, near the bottom of its face. Good catch, buddy!
Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 in a two-part series of photoblog posts related to observations of Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum ambiguum) eating and excreting, two essential life functions. Next post: “Excrete.”
Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.