Posts Tagged ‘Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge’

Tattered

September 16, 2020

18 AUG 2020 | JMAWR | Slaty Skimmer (male)

The preceding photo shows a Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) that was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell near Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a mature male, as indicated by his coloration, tattered wings, and terminal appendages.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blue Dasher dragonfly (male)

September 14, 2020

Ubiquitous. Yep, that’s Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis).

18 AUG 2020 | JMAWR | Blue Dasher (male)

A male Blue Dasher was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Whitetail dragonfly (mature male)

September 11, 2020

A Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a mature male, as indicated by his coloration, pattern of wing spots, and terminal appendages.

18 AUG 2020 | JMAWR | Common Whitetail (mature male)

Common Whitetail” is one of a few common names for odonates that makes perfect sense, at least for males. This species is found commonly in lentic habitats. It’s one of the first species to emerge during spring and one of the last to disappear in fall.

Although Common Whitetail is easy to find, it can be challenging to photograph mature males without blowing out the highlights in their bright white abdomen.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Solanum carolinense wildflowers

September 9, 2020

I noticed some beautiful little wildflowers as I was photographing the Black and Yellow Argiope featured in my last blog post. Sometimes you need to stop and smell the “banana flowers.” Huh?

I maintain a simple text file called “Photowalking Field Notes.” After every photowalk or studio photo session, I record the date, location, photo gear, and of course, what I saw and photographed. Sometimes I see things that I’m unable to photograph (e.g., Tiger Spiketail dragonflies), so “saw” and “photographed” aren’t necessarily the same. Although I use keywords in both Apple Aperture and Adobe Lightroom, searchable text is a quick and easy way to find photos I have taken.

My field note for this photo is “light purple wildflower <– banana flower” because the yellow plant centers [insert correct name for plant anatomy here] remind me of a hand of bananas.

18 AUG 2020 | JMAWR | Solanum carolinense wildflowers

The preceding photo is simply a “record shot” of a wildflower I never noticed. I contacted “Plant Man Drew” Chaney for help with identification.

I met Drew at the Dragonfly Society of the Americas 2017 DSA Annual Meeting in Staunton, Virginia USA. Drew is an excellent all-around naturalist with considerable expertise in botany.

Drew quickly identified the wildflowers as Solanum carolinense. Most of the flowers in my photo appear a little past peak, based upon images featured on the reference Web page Drew provided. As always, thanks for your help, Drew — it is sincerely appreciated!

The Backstory

The wildflowers shown above were spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Black and Yellow Argiope (female)

September 7, 2020

While we’re doing that spider thing, here’s one that is seen commonly during late-summer/early-fall.

18 AUG 2020 | JMAWR | Black and Yellow Argiope (female)

A Black and Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia) spider was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female, as indicated by her size.

Females can be almost two inches long, while the males tend to be much smaller, rarely reaching even 1/4 of an inch in size. … The females live less than a year, dying by the first frosts. The males usually die right after breeding. Source Credit: Golden Garden Spider, by Alonso Abugattas, a.k.a, the Capital Naturalist.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Stealthy spider stalks Swift Setwing

September 4, 2020

There I was, trying to create some Odonart©.

18 AUG 2020 | 12:02:18 PM | JMAWR | Swift Setwing (male)

As I “worked the shot,” the imaginary soundtrack in my mind reminded me of the music bed at the beginning of Bambi Meets Godzilla. Peaceful. And just as suddenly as the animated film ends rudely, the idyllic scene before my eyes took a turn for the ugly!

Cue the Jaws Theme Song as the walk-on music for a Long-jawed Orb Weaver.

18 AUG 2020 | 12:03:10 PM | JMAWR | Swift Setwing (male)

52 seconds of elapsed time could have been the difference between life and death for the dragonfly. As far as I know, the Swift Setwing survived this near-death experience.

The Backstory

Swift Setwing dragonfly (Dythemis velox) was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages.

The first photo was taken when the dragonfly landed on a grass stem near the shoreline of the pond. Soon afterward his wings were “set” forward in the position from which the latter part of its common name is derived, as shown in the last photo. It is assumed by the author that the set wing position enables the dragonfly to take flight swiftly — a useful adaptation when being stalked by a stealthy spider!

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (male, No. 2)

September 2, 2020

The following photo shows a Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) that was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell near Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a mature male, as indicated by his coloration and terminal appendages.

18 AUG 2020 | JMAWR | Slaty Skimmer (male)

This mature male has mated many times, as indicated by the scratches on his abdomen.

Males that have mated often have marks on their abdomen where the female legs have scratched them. This is especially obvious in species in which males develop pruinosity, as the pruinosity on the mid-abdomen is scratched off, and the signs are visible at some distance. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 390-392). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly

August 31, 2020

A Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis) was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell near Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR), Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

A. apicalis has “a blue form female and a brown form female.” Since neither the hamules nor terminal appendages can be seen clearly in the preceding photo, I’m unsure whether this individual is male or female.

Post Update

Michael Ready, good friend and fellow member of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, shared the following comment via e-mail.

That’s an outstanding picture of a Blue-fronted Dancer. You state you are unsure of the individual’s gender. I am confident that it is a male. According to my field guides (Lam and Paulson), the blue-form female lacks the blue eyes and blue S8-10 that are apparent in your picture. Source Credit: Michael Ready.

Thanks for the kind words and helpful information, Michael! As it turns out, the field marks that you described are shown clearly in one of my blog posts: Blue-fronted Dancers (male, female), especially this photo.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Great Blue Skimmer (mature male)

August 28, 2020

A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a mature male, as indicated by his slightly tattered wings, blue coloration, and terminal appendages.

18 AUG 2020 | JMAWR | Great Blue Skimmer (mature male)

This male has mated many times, as indicated by the scratches on his abdomen.

Males that have mated often have marks on their abdomen where the female legs have scratched them. This is especially obvious in species in which males develop pruinosity, as the pruinosity on the mid-abdomen is scratched off, and the signs are visible at some distance. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 390-392). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Tech Tips

The preceding photo is full-frame (4,000 x 3,000 pixels), that is, uncropped.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 is one of two superzoom bridge cameras that I use as my “go to” rigs for photowalking. The minimum focusing distance in AF Macro mode is 1 m (3.3 feet) at maximum telephoto (600 mm, 35mm equivalent). My usual practice is to set the camera lens for maximum telephoto and move as close as possible to the minimum focusing distance, resulting in maximum magnification of the subject. That’s how I shot the photo shown above.

It’s worth noting the minimum focusing distance is 2 m (6.6 feet) at maximum telephoto when the camera IS NOT set for AF Macro mode. If your goal is to get as close as possible to the subject in order to fill the photo frame, then AF Macro mode is the way to go.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Russet-tipped Clubtail dragonfly (male)

August 26, 2020

A Russet-tipped Clubtail dragonfly (Stylurus plagiatus) was spotted by Michael Powell during a photowalk around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages.

18 AUG 2020 | JMAWR | Russet-tipped Clubtail (male)

I was able to shoot one and only one photo of the Russet-tipped Clubtail before it was spooked by a male Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) — the clubtail flew away (never to return) while the skimmer landed on a nearby perch.

Swift Setwing (Dythemis velox) and Russet-tipped Clubtail were our two target species for the trip to JMAWR. Seeing Swift Setwing was a relatively sure thing; Russet-tipped, less so. It would have been nice to get a longer look at this handsome clubtail, but hey, I’m happy to have seen/photo’d this somewhat uncommon species however briefly!

Related Resource: Odonart© [one of several Swift Setwing spotted on the same day at JMAWR]

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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