Monday, March 30, 2009

First Dragonflies of 2009/ Newt Explosion

Yesterday it was windy yet rather warm. I walked up the driveway to the warm spot where I always find the first dragonflies of the year. Sure enough I found a Springtime Darner, tried to chase it with the camera and then found a Stream Cruiser. Later I came back and photographed a Stream Cruiser and a Sely's Sundragon!

Above and below
Stream Cruiser, Ditymops transversa known by the single diagonal stripe on the side of the thorax, most spring dragonflies with stripes have two stripes.

All photos below are Sely's Sundragon, Helocordulia selysi this is a somewhat rare spring dragonfly, yet we find good numbers of them here every year. The Uhler's Sundragon is here also, it would have an amber spot in the wing at the base of the hindwing.

Those dark spots at the base of the hindwing would have a tiny bit of amber in them if it was an Uhler's Sundragon.

Sely's Sundragon, Helocordulia selysi

All photos taken on March 29th 2009 in Orange County, NC

A mated pair of Falcate Orangetips found here yesterday. I also saw a mated pair of azures but could not get on them with the camera.

Yesterday must have been the day of newts as there must have been hundreds of them in the pond, with breeding in mind. I don't recall ever seeing more than 10 or 12 in a given day before. The newt below is likely a gravid female, note the swollen belly.

Eastern Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens also called Red-spotted Newt

These newts were either mating or fighting over a female, there was a lot of tumbling underwater then a rise to the top, where I got this photo. My guess is they are both males.
Other news on the pond. Meg spotted the Snapping Turtle in the pond yesterday! In the past week we have twice spotted a pair of Wood Ducks on the pond and enjoyed them quietly from the screened in porch.


Robin's Nesting Place said...

Magnificent pictures! I hope to see a lot of dragonflies and damselflies again this year. Last year was a banner year for me and I loved trying to capture them with the camera.

Anonymous said...

Great photos! Can't say I ever say a newt before. You must have a really healthy pond.

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

Those pictures are awesome. I haven't seen newts or dragonflies like those before. Great post!

Becca's Dirt said...

Great photos. Beautiful dragonfly.

Shady Gardener said...

Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos! And you observed the wood ducks from your [new] screened in porch! yea!

Lanny said...

Those are great photos and information. It makes me warm just looking at the dragonflys.

RainGardener said...

Your photos are always so great and the wings on the dragonflies just amaze me. I can't get over how totally delicate they are.
My grandson was reading the post where I put his (and brother) pictures. He saw your comment about catching frogs. Yesterday he caught a frog and the first thing he said was I should tell you that. LOL He also found a Ladybug so it was a pretty good day outside. In fact they were helping me garden so I did a whole post about it. Grandkids - what can I say?
I guess I don't know what a Newt is - looked like a Salamander or something.
My favorite was the Falcate Orangetips. The 4 year old said oooooos and aaaahhhhs when we got to it too. So I guess it took first place with us. ;-)

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

I know I say it every time I see your pictures, but they are great. You always have such good information about them as well!

Janet said...

Wow Randy, that first dragonfly looks like a jeweled brooch. They are exquisit creatures. Great photos.

sweet bay said...

Beautiful photos as always Randy. The Stream Cruiser looks like it's made of gold. It's amazing how beautiful these insects are -- they're beautiful on the wing and a different kind of beautiful close-up.

I wonder if I'll see a Snapper this spring. It's that time of year! Quite frankly I find them a little bit scary.

We have Wood Ducks in the slough down by the creek and frequently see them flying overhead at dusk. I would *love* to get a decent picture of one but I'm not expecting it -- they're a bit wary. It seems they always explode out of the water before I notice them.

Susan said...

I'm so impressed that you know the names of dragonflys. I love those little creatures and am amazed at how beautiful and colorful they are up close.

Randy Emmitt said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my photos and this article! Newts are juvenile salamanders that later become the Red Eft salamander. Our pond is fishless making life a little easier for them and the dragonflies and frogs.

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