Posts Tagged ‘friendly’

“Grays” love them some me!

August 14, 2019

2019 was a record-setting year for observing Gray Petaltail dragonflies (Tachopteryx thoreyi) with Mike Powell at an undisclosed location in Prince William County, Virginia USA.

  • 21 May 2019 was the day that we observed at least a dozen (12+) Gray Petaltail — the most on any day during 2019.
  • 14 June 2019 was the day that the most “Grays” landed on me, including one female and two males plus some others that didn’t perch long enough to be photographed by either Mike or me.

Female

The first individual is a female, as indicated by her rounded hind wings and terminal appendages. She is perched on the front of my gray-green shirt.

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

Please get this man to a barber STAT! On the other hand, there isn’t much else that can be done about the face. As you can see, I’m the owner of a high mileage “vehicle” — fortunately it still runs good!

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

Males

The next individual is a male, as indicated by his “indented” hind wings, and terminal appendages. He is perched on the right sleeve of my shirt.

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

The same male is shown in the following image. This photo is my favorite in the gallery.

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

The last individual, possibly/probably a male, is perched on my off-white bucket hat. The “Gray” was doing a Vulcan mind-meld with me by using specialized contact via the tips of his legs.

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More “Grays” on me

August 12, 2019

Well, really just one “Gray.” Gray Petaltail dragonfly (Tachopteryx thoreyi), that is. Perched on my … er, hip. This individual is a female, as indicated by her rounded hind wings and terminal appendages.

Guest photographer Michael Powell shot both images during a photowalk with me on 21 May 2019 at an undisclosed location in Prince William County, Virginia USA.

The following photo set provides a brief example of what we call “working the shot.” The first photo is what some other ode hunters call the “record shot,” meaning get a shot, any shot of the subject in case it flies away and is never seen again.

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

Slowly Mike moved closer to get the shot he wanted, shown below.

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

The Backstory

21 May 2019 was a great day for spotting Gray Petaltail dragonflies during a long, productive photowalk with Michael Powell at two locations: along a small stream in the forest; and around a small seep-fed pond. At least a dozen (12+) T. thoreyi were observed during the day, including two “Grays” that landed on Mike.

As we were walking toward Mike’s car at the end of the day, I was feeling disappointed that we hadn’t taken any photos of T. thoreyi perched on me. That’s when I noticed a Gray Petaltail perched on a fence rail. Before I was able to take a picture of the dragonfly, she flew from the fence rail to a new perch on my backside. Fortunately Mike was close behind me and was able to shoot the good photos featured in this blog post. Needless to say, I suffered as the butt of many jokes related to my indelicate circumstance!

Related Resources

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

“Grays” on me

July 15, 2019

“Grays” on me? No, don’t eat me! (See what I did there?)

This post features images from guest photographer Michael Powell, taken during a photowalk with me at Occoquan Regional Park (ORP), Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

The photos show two different male Gray Petaltail dragonflies (Tachopteryx thoreyi) perched on me.

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

The last photo shows a male Gray Petaltail perched on my bucket hat. Look closely at the full-size version of the photo. Notice the dragonfly appears to be grazing upon a smaller insect. (See? I did it again!)

Photo used with permission from Mike Powell.

I call the preceding photo “Wilson Wilson” because it reminds me of a discussion between Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor and his next-door neighbor Wilson Wilson about a flying saucer that Wilson saw. See Home Improvement: Believe It or Not Clip (1:31).

Related Resources

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

“Grays” come in peace.

June 10, 2019

A Gray Petaltail dragonfly (Tachopteryx thoreyi) was spotted during a photowalk with Mike Powell at Occoquan Regional Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a male, as indicated by its “indented” hind wings and terminal appendages. The male is perched on the left sleeve of Mike’s gray “Army” logo t-shirt. I nicknamed this Gray “The Gripper” because Mike said he could feel the dragonfly tightening its grip on a small fold in the t-shirt.

“Grays”

If you look into the eyes of a Gray Petaltail dragonfly at close range, then you might agree with me that they look like the space aliens known as “Grays.” Hey, I’m just saying — Mike might have experienced a close encounter of the Gray kind!

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

You look like a tree to me!

May 22, 2019

Gray Petaltail dragonflies (Tachopteryx thoreyi) have a well-known preference for perching on gray or tan colored surfaces, including gray or tan colored clothing. Dressed appropriately, Mike Powell and I visited a hotspot for Gray Petaltail where we hoped to shoot some photographs of T. thoreyi perched on each other.

The first individual is a female, perched on the front of Mike Powell’s gray sweatshirt.

21 MAY 2019 | Northern Virginia | Gray Petaltail (female)

The last individual is a male, perched on Mike Powell’s left shoulder.

21 MAY 2019 | Northern Virginia | Gray Petaltail (male)

I’m guessing the dragonflies were thinking, “Hey Mike, you look like a tree to me!” No offense intended, good buddy. In fact, I think you should be flattered that these spectacular specimens befriended you!

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Bonding with Bender

November 7, 2018

Gray Petaltail dragonflies (Tachopteryx thoreyi) have a well-known preference for perching on gray or tan colored surfaces, including gray or tan colored clothing. Dressed appropriately, I visited a hotspot for Gray Petaltail where I hoped to shoot some “selfie” photographs of T. thoreyi perched on me.

The first photo is a “selfie” that shows a Fiery Skipper butterfly (Hylephila phyleus) perched on my left forearm. Thanks to several members of the BugGuide Facebook group for help in identifying the butterfly!

A Fiery Skipper butterfly perched on my left forearm.

The pained expression on my face says “You should have worn your glasses, you old fool!” I call it “going snake-eyed.”

The last photo is a “selfie” that shows a Gray Petaltail dragonfly perched on my Cabela’s Safari Series vest. This individual is a male that I nicknamed “Bender” because of his malformed abdomen.

A Gray Petaltail dragonfly (male) perched on my Cabela’s safari vest.

Open the full-size version of the preceding photo and zoom in on the dragonfly. Look at Bender’s face. I wonder what he was thinking.

Tech Tips

I used my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 superzoom camera to shoot the “selfie” photos featured in this blog post. The camera was set for manual focus at the hyperfocal distance for an aperture of f/4, based upon the instructions provided in the excellent video tutorial by Graham Houghton, “Panasonic Lumix FZ camera easier manual focus method — super point-and-shoot tip.”

The camera was mounted on a Sunpak 8001 UT medium duty aluminum tripod, with the articulating LCD facing forward. A JJC TM-Series Multi-Function Timer Remote Control was connected to the camera. I sat on a Coleman camp stool positioned a few feet in front of the camera, with the remote control in one hand.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Thermal energy vampire!

November 24, 2017

The following photographs show an Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) perching on Walter Sanford (hey, that’s me!) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages.

All three photos were taken by Lisa Young during a photowalk with me along Easy Road.

Most dragonflies are skittish. Some species of dragonflies are “friendly,” such as Blue Corporal dragonflies (Ladona deplanata) and Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum). It’s probably not a coincidence that both types of dragonflies are early- and late-season species, when the ambient air temperature is cooler.

Some odonate experts speculate dragonflies perch on people in order to absorb thermal energy radiated by the relatively warm human body. Or in this case, a black backpack — a good spot since darker-colored objects absorb and re-radiate thermal energy more quickly than lighter-colored objects.

Related Resource: Five Guys, a blog post by Walter Sanford featuring photos of male Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies taken before the meet-up with Liza Young.

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What’s yours is mine

January 8, 2016

Dragonflies, especially the “friendly species,” have no understanding of either personal space or property rights. Of course that’s only part of their appeal!

The following individual is a male Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum), perching on the leg of my Columbia convertible pants. I spotted this guy at the “accidental vernal pool,” my nickname for a vernal pool located near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park that was created accidentally during construction of the new water control system.

The last three photos show another male, perching on my Coleman camp stool, near the small observation platform above the water control system.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Say hello to my little friends!

November 21, 2015

Ever feel like bugs are crawling all over your body? Sometimes the feeling is real! The Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum) were especially “friendly” during a recent visit to Huntley Meadows Park, landing on me frequently as Michael Powell and I were searching for Great Spreadwing damselflies (Archilestes grandis).

My Photos

The following individual is a male, perching on the leg of my Columbia convertible pants. Regular readers of my photoblog know I’m especially fond of head-tilts in which the dragonfly seems to display some of its personality. Like this guy, who I imagine is thinking “What are you looking at? That’s right pal, I’m perching on your pants!”

The next photo shows two individuals perching on my pants, both females, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages.

The last individual is another female. I shot this photo by bending over at the waist and shooting the photo upside down. Apple “Aperture” detected the orientation of my camera and automatically flipped the image vertically.

Mike Powell’s Photos

Mike was in a better position than me to shoot photos of some of the dragonflies that landed on me.

I highly recommend shooting the same subject … with another photographer and comparing results. It’s fascinating and instructive to get a sense of how a single situation can be interpreted and how each photographer makes a whole series of creative choices that result in very different images. Source Credit: Garter Snake in November, by Mike Powell.

The following mating pair is shown “in tandem,” perching on my upper thigh: the male is on top; the female on the bottom. My viewpoint made it impossible to take a good photo of this pair — good thing Mike was nearby to record my close encounter of the odonate kind!

walter1_blog

11 NOV 2015 | Photograph used with permission from Michael Powell.

The next photo shows a female perching on my right forearm. Tough shot for a lefty! (See below.)

walter2_blog

11 NOV 2015 | Photograph used with permission from Michael Powell.

The last photo shows a female perching on the heel of my right hand, near my wrist. Although I’m left-handed, the shutter button is always on the right side of cameras — a one-handed shot was impossible for me in this situation. Again, Mike to the rescue!

walter3_blog

11 NOV 2015 | Photograph used with permission from Michael Powell.

Related Resource: Meadowhawk Mike

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More friendly Autumn Meadowhawks

October 28, 2015

Two more “friendly” Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum) were spotted recently at Huntley Meadows Park. Both of these individuals are males, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages.

The first male is shown perching on the leg of my Columbia “Aruba IV” convertible pants.

The last male is perching on my Coleman camp stool.

Related Resource: Huntley insects endorse Coleman camp stool

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


%d bloggers like this: