Monday, October 6, 2014

A Suprise Dragonfly

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I had seen what probably was my last dragonfly of the season.  Thankfully, I was wrong in a really good way.  Last weekend I stopped along a stream near by our cabin to photograph some dew-laden spider webs.  From the corner of my eye I glanced a very large dragonfly hovering.  It kept darting in an out of the foliage along the stream bank and hovering there for a few moments as it traversed the length of the stream.  I immediately recognized that it was a member of the darner family, but I had never seen this sort of hovering flight pattern.  Individual darner species can be very difficult to identify without having the opportunity to see several parts of their anatomy.  The first one I encountered seemed to enjoy me taking photos of it in midair and hovered patiently as I snapped photos.  It never landed, but I did get good enough photos of it side stripes and the tip of its abdomen to make an identification.  It was a male Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa), a species that I had yet to see.  Later that day, encountered a very docile female Shadow Darner perched in the sunshine.  With these photographs, I have added the thirteenth new species to my list this year, bringing my total list to 62 unique species.  I have about double that to go to see all the dragonfly species in Michigan.  Ironically, some of the more common ones I have never seen, while I have photographed four species that most people never see.

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