Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Odes and stuff

Last week I went to Ohio to help my Mom close on her house and my brother was having surgery. My brother is home and doing fine and the money is in the bank from Mom's house which we had been attempting to sell for nearly two years!

The weather was rainy in Ohio most of the time, on my way back I took 2 detours because of bridges washed out. I did manage to poke around in Shawnee State Forest for about an hour or so. My first nature experience was finding about 6-8 Kentucky Warblers in a creek bottom, we are lucky to see one or two every once in a while here in NC!
This is a Northern Pearly-eye butterfly from Shawnee. I have seen lots of pearly-eyes before but never have I seen one open up flat like this one. Usually about 1/2 to 3/4 open is the best they do. This guy had seen days of rain guess it was serious about drying out a bit.

OK, here is something unusual a female Aurora Damsel, Chromagrion conditum with a male Turquoise Bluet, Enallagma divagans attempting to attach to the back of the head of the Aurora Damsel to mate with it. There were 2 maybe 3 male Turquoise Bluets doing this! Both of these damselflies are mountain species mainly in NC, so I rarely see either of them. Male damselflies and dragonflies usually have appendages that match up perfectly into the back of the head of the same species female. Once the male grabs her head she can reach around with her matching appendages and mate with the male, this is called a "wheel".

Here is a properly attached male Aurora Damsel to the head of the female Aurora Damsel. These two damselflies are not mating, they are considered to be in tandem.
The male Aurora Damsel with a close up of the appendages. He is a beauty isn't he? One of my favorite damselflies.

OK, OK, I get it, this dragon comes from the sand! Common Sanddragon, Progomphus obscurus freshly emerged from his exuvia in the sand. This sandragon was found in Caswell County, NC recently, it had rained a lot and the creek must have washed this guy around a bit. Below is a teneral Common Sanddragon that must have emerged the night before, it was not 4 foot from the one above.

Great Spangled Fritillary on Butterflyweed, Asclepia tuberosa.

Banded Pennant, Celithemis fasciata
Those red eyes are something aren't they?
Male Calico Pennant,Celithemis elisa
female Golden-winged Skimmer, Libellula auripennis
I found this in Durham County, NC and thought hey we never see them here in the Piedmont, in the Sandhills  they are common. So when I got home I checked the NC State Parks database for Durham County and the last record of this species was mine back on May 23, 2002.

This bad boy is on an Ox-eyed Daisy, a Swamp Darner, Epiaeschna heros one of the largest dragonflies we have. These dragonflies are around 3 1/2 inches long and can be seen in swarms of thousands. I have seen thousands a few times in Frances Marion National Forest in SC it can be unsettling to see so many flying all around you. Today I had two of them in my back yard the area is maybe 50' x 70'  and the two of them gleaned up every small bug in the air over a period of 10 or 15 minutes. The only bug I saw them not able to catch was a Banded Hairstreak butterfly! They showed me today they are very effective predators!


Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

oh my, Randy, you have the best photos. Each one is more interesting than the next.
Glad your mom's house sold and your brother is recovering from his surgery.

Carol said...

Randy, I am nearly speechless... but must say your photography is award winning! Amazing... it is so hard to get this pictures and you do it time and again. They are each incredible! Brava! I know the Swamp Darner... I believe we have those here and I have seen them doing amazing things ... zig zagging around close to the ground by the hundreds... I sat down near them in my crabapple orchard once... they were so close I could hear them bumping into one another's wings. Then I have send them in the sky above me by the thousands as you say... doing the same thing ... feasting I suppose ... I thought it was some ritual... I could not see any bugs. The Banded Pennant photo is unbelievable and your Aurora Damsels amazing in every way! Fabulous post! How many creatures are in your second photo... three? How does the dragon fly allow this odd behavior on his head... I must be missing something here... it is late. Your butterflies are wonderful too. Thank you for such a treat and for stirring up my memories. ;>)

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

So many great pictures, I enjoyed them all. I always learn something when I visit your blog. The Sandragon is really interesting, never heard of that one before.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Your photos are stunning. Thank you for a look into the world of these flying critters. It is really fascinating.


Unknown said...

I'm happy to hear that your brother is doing well and that you've had success in selling your mom's home.

What a wonderful and educational post! Your photos show each so well.

PS The Boys from Carolina are playing nearby tomorrow night. Drop me an email for info, if interested.

Southern Lady said...

Your photos are great as usual. I also appreciate the lesson. I am glad that your brother is recovering and your mom's home sold. Hope you have a great holiday weekend! Carla

sweetbay said...

Great pictures Randy. Damselflies are so beautiful.

Jean Campbell said...

Wonderful photos. Glad to hear that things are going well and that you are finding some treasures through the lens.

Kerri Farley said...

FABULOUS shots Randy!! I am WOWed! And thank you so much for always coming thru for me with ID help! I appreciate it very much!!

tina said...

Awesome pictures. I so enjoy the dragon flies but never see them so close up so I really appreciate those ones.

Lisa said...

Such great photos, as usual -- they help me 'see' some of the differences in these dragonflies.

Glad you had a nice diversion during your family trip, too.

Ginger said...

The dragonfly photos are STUNNING. I'm kind of glad I don't see any of those HUGE ones on my ox-eye daisies, though - they are a little creepy!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely stunning pictures!

Q said...

Dear Randy,
Another wonderful post. Seeing all the dragonflies makes me want to get out into the wetlands.
Incredible photographs.