There Be Dragons

Variable Darner | Aeshna interrupta
Variable Darner | Aeshna interrupta

I had the opportunity to lead a Young Naturalists Club walk this morning out at Woodhus Slough just north of the Oyster River. We were looking for dragonflies and on this sunny morning were fortunate to find a few. It’s late in the year for dragonflies and many of the ones that we caught (and released) were looking tattered.

With children, dragonfly watching can be challenging. A fair amount of patience and the ability to stay still for long periods of time are both prerequisites. Those using nets also need the skill required to catch these amazing fliers without harming them.

Still, we had a good morning out in the sedges at the edge of the slough. We caught a couple of paddle-tailed darners (Aeshna palmata) and one striped meadowhawk (Sympetrum pallipes). The kids had a good close-up look at these two species in-hand before they were released.

I returned to the edge of the water after the group had left and persevered for another forty-five minutes or so. As the day heated up so did the activity around the water. I was able to catch and photograph a variable darner (Aeshna interrupta) and got a fleeting look at a damselfly moving through the sedge. All in all, it was an enjoyable way to spend the morning – I highly recommend it!

Variable Darner | Aeshna interrupta
Variable Darner | Aeshna interrupta
Paddle-tailed Darner | Aeshna palmata
Paddle-tailed Darner | Aeshna palmata
Paddle-tailed Darner | Aeshna palmata
Paddle-tailed Darner | Aeshna palmata

Macro Monday

5 comments

  1. Thanks Terri – it does help to have a good dragonfly net! The side profile images are taken “in-hand” and while that’s not a natural pose for a dragonfly (with the wings up) it’s useful to capture the identifying field marks of the species. They sometimes take a minute to adjust when released so when placed on a hand or plant it is possible to get some more natural looking photographs before they fly away. Otherwise you have to have a lot of patience in order to get close enough to get a good composition – they’re pretty wary!

  2. They are such beautiful creatures, aren’t they? And so fast – I”m amazed you can catch and release without harming them, especially with children handling the nets! You must be patient indeed!

    Great shots!

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