The dragonflies were out in force at Cougar Creek Park yesterday, mostly in couples. They were dressed in shimmering black and blue, or dazzling reds; some wore white, some brown. One had green eyes, and another was resplendent in silver and silky sheers.
We managed to catch a few of them at rest.
|A common whitetail male, Libellula (Plathemis) lydia, with a blue tail.|
The tail is not white, and I wondered about that. I found the explanation on BugGuide: he's a young male whose tail has not reached its full brilliance. I like the blue better, but then, I'm not a whitetail dragonfly, so my opinion doesn't count.
Another dragonfly that I saw and got only a couple of shots at (although the camera couldn't find it to focus), was almost invisible. A big dragonfly, but with transparent wings, and a shimmery, silvery, mirror-like pale body. The camera just looked straight through it, and it shows up as a shiny fog over the background. I looked everywhere for a transparent dragonfly, with no luck until I happened across it with the whitetails on BugGuide. It's a female whitetail, just hatched from its nymph stage.
|This is the BugGuide photo; mine are hopeless.|
It looks all weird and shimmering because it is teneral, which means that it has just emerged from the nymphal stage, and its parts haven't fully hardened yet. (Mark Fox)
|The same male, but here he looks like he has 8 wings. The light was very bright, and he was on almost white clay, so the shadows are almost as vivid as the wings.|
|A tiny, green-eyed bluet resting on a branch.|
There were other bluets, as well, dark-eyed ones with dotted-line abdomens. And many of those big black and blue darners. None of them stopped their mating frenzy long enough for us to get close.
|A Cherry-faced Meadowhawk, Sympetrum internum.|
|A meadowhawk and a whitetail, caught in the same photo.|