Friday, August 18, 2006

Powdered Dancer

The Powder Dancer

Although I purchased Larry Rosche's Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeastern Ohio almost two years ago, i didn't really use it until this summer. As a part of my job, I sometimes join NEON, an acronym for Northeastern Ohio Naturalists, on their field trips. It was on these trips that the amazing flying predators caught my eye. This just goes to show the importance of the naturalist—without Rosche, I would not have have had the will or patience to capture the picture below.

On a trip to the Conneaut Creek in Ashtabula county, Rosche pointed out blue fronted and blue tipped dancers, powered dancers, several slender spreadwings, eastern pondhawk, and the Illinios River Cruiser. Just spending a few hours in the field with Rosche, who in a former life taught calculus at my high school, really got me going into dragonflies. A few weeks later, Megan and I were standing in my apartment parking lot, right next to a large grass rimmed retention pond, watching darners zoom about. We kept our eye on one particular mosquito that was sharing the airways with their predators, when, in an instant, a darner swooped in and gobbled up the poor thing. I couldn't tell if I was happy for the dragonfly, sad for the mosquito, or just thankful that another potential west nile vector had been taken out. I was hooked, and so was Megan. Not only are dragonflies beautiful, but their behavior is equally fascinating as well.

Upon moving this Saturday, I have observed three species of Odonates (dragonfliesand damselflies) in my backyard around our water garden/goldfish pond. The first guy I spotted was the very common blue fronted dancer, a damselfly in the genus Argia. I then spotted a blue dasher, a dragonfly, zooming about with a fabulous dusky light blue abdomen. Finally, last evening, a male and female powder dancer spent about ten minutes hovering around the pond and landing on the limestone landscaping rocks. I captured this guy..can you believe it?

What a magnificent creature. Digital photography sure does these guys justice! While I'm writing this using my laptop just feet from the pond, the crickets and katydids are getting louder...I'm hearing a hum in my ear....and a rattling kingfisher just flew over head. Its nice to settle somewhere that still retains some semblance wildness.

1 comment:

  1. Dragonflies don't sting people, right? In that case, they can live. My classroom is infested with yellowjackets, and I often wonder what they do for me other than anaphylaxis.

    Mr. Roche was the best math teacher ever. I probably mention him at least once a trimester when I tell my students those of them that can accept the B with their hardest work will be better off in life than those that slack and still get an A. Maybe I just remember that b/c I was SO GOOD at getting Bs.

    Glad I found your blog, Tom! I googled you after my mom sent your engagement announcement. Congrats!