After the extremely trying week I had last week (lots of hours, tons of different projects, lots of deliverables, grandfather back in the hospital, hang nail), I took Friday off to get a little bit of nature photography in before the pending heat wave (which has been ungodly, btw – near 100 degrees for 5 days). I went down to a small local pond where we can usually find quite a few cool bugs to photograph, taking my wife’s Nikon 105mm f/2.8 lens with me (God, I love that lens). After a rough start, suddenly, I was inundated with odonata everywhere.

Wallworth Pond is usually not a great birding spot – sure there are geese, mallards, barn swallows and the occasional Baltimore oriole or two. But the big draw here are the bugs – particularly the dragon- and damselflies. It’s not a huge pond but it has a healthy number of lily pads, which in turn seem to bring a good number of dragonflies. Native plants along the shore also provide habitat for a number of other bug species.

Lookin' to Gab

Barn Swallow

When I first got out of the car, I was greeted by a bunch of barn swallows greeted me – although I hadn’t expected most of them to be on the ground. I guess that’s where the young go when they want to be fed.

Mom?  Mom?  I'm hungry, here...

Feeeeed me.

But eventually, I got bored of the swallows and started looking for my real quarry – the bugs. At first, it appeared that I might be disappointed – I couldn’t find any, no matter where I looked. But then, they started to emerge. It started with one that was flying back and forth, denying me a picture and any chance of ID. Then came a common whitetail, followed by a bunch of mating damselflies (which I later ID’d as a collection of orange bluets. But after a time in the bad light, I went to the other side of the pond. Jackpot.

Check out those stripes!

Female Blackwater Bluet

It was here that I started seeing a ton of stuff – four-lined plant bugs, broadheaded sharpshooters, Dogwood Calligrapha beetle and any number of other small beetles and bugs. And there were a lot of damselflies in the vegetation in one particular spot. They were less than helpful about letting me get a shot of them, so I know that I missed a few, but I saw a bunch of eastern forktails, fragile forktails and my first confirmed pictures of blackwater bluets. I’d seen them before but never had a good shot of one.

The Damsels Are Here

Female Blackwater Bluet 2

But the highlight of the night – aside from the hundreds of damselflies out – was my third baskettail species of the year, a male Beaverpond baskettail. It was a great dragonfly to see, with brilliant green eyes (see the picture below), but a real pain to get a picture of. I’m 99% sure that’s what I was seeing on the other side of the pond, but I don’t remember the green eyes standing out as much as they did this time.

Beaverpond Makes Three

Beaverpond Baskettail patrolling

All in all, a good day to end a long week – I got to see and get some good pictures of several species of odonata, and added 1 species of dragonfly to my lifelist. The Odes are back!


3 Responses to “Odes!

  • Great shots as always, Marty! They remind me to look around more at all the bugs around … small though they may be, they are fascinating creatures.

  • wow!

    the Blackwater Bluet shots are other-worldly looking

  • Swallows and Dragonflies are stunning! Bravo

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