Friday, October 26, 2007

Shadow Darner?

This afternoon, I got off work a bit early, and decided to take a few pictures of birds around my neighbor's feeder. I pretty much struck out with that venture, as I just couldn't hide behind the catalpa tree without them seeing me. Oh Well. Sure enough, I went to the backyard, photographed a squirrel running down the top of the fence, and looked at the goldfish in the pond for a bit. A sudden flash of brown streaked across the pond with a flick of light. It was a dragon. What was it? A fawn darner? It stopped on the limestone ledge, and then started curling its abdomen underneath the rock. A female! I had my camera, looked through the lens, and sure enough, it was one of the mosaic darners, a beautiful group of dragons that can be observed in the fall throughout Ohio. But today was gray, and I wasn't expecting to see any odonata, let alone one I have never seen before. Maybe the female's eggs will hatch? Sometimes I wish I could get rid of the fish, removing predators that might eat the little dragonfly nymphs once they hatched, but I don't think the landlord would approve of that idea. Oh well. Maybe some will make it anyways? Pictures to come later this evening!

Update: Did I mention how beautiful this insect is? I couldn't really see the bright greens and blues while it was flying (it was all a brown blur), but once this female landed, her colors shown bright. What a spectacular animal.

In the following photo, you can see the females black, awl shaped ovipositor scraping the bottom of the limestone. This dragon may have been gone in sixty seconds, but it made quite a lasting impression.

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