Monday, June 02, 2008

Dragons and Damsels (and other cool stuff) are Here

Summer, welcome, you are here. And with you came the mussel display that I captured via video and still images. And yesterday, i took my first damselfly images of the season. They started to fly about a week ago, and have been gradually gaining numbers to where almost every patch of water-willow has a dozen or so residents. Here's a teneral, or just hatched stream damselfly. It is either a female or it is a male that hasn't gotten its color quite yet, and I'm not brave enough to ID them until they mature. It should be only a few days or so before they obtain their full coloration.
Here is an up close view of their eye through my Canon 60 mm macro lens. I was quite surprised this damsel let me approach so closely, but they are more clumsy and less docile when they are still teneral.
One of our most common butterflies, the pearl crescent. I also saw one mourning cloak fluttering about the understory of the floodplain forest, but it was much more wary than this crescent, which was hanging out in the tall grass of the active recreational area of the park.
And finally, this little creature caught my attention this evening in my backyard as I was setting up to get shots of a blue dasher dragonfly. I believe that it is a crab spider in the family Thomisidae. It almost reminds me of some deranged cartoon character. It sits in wait, ready to ambush any insect that may come by, closing its long outstretched legs. I saw this individual take a few swipes but it never caught anything. It was incredibly patient as well. The front lens of the camera was only about two inches from the insect in this shot.

And those are just some of the things that I have been observing, I have not taken enough insect pictures this summer, and soon we'll be back in winter lamenting the lack of arthropods!



  1. Oh, these are so beautiful! I wish it were Spring here, and not Winter. :) But I guess all the seasons have their beauty, and even though we don't have snow there are a lot of other nice things to see.


    David Webb - Photographer

  2. The spider looks like it wants a nice, juicy bite o' fancy camera! *L*

  3. Tom: The Spider reminds me of the Predator movies. That is a great picture set in the attack position.

  4. Very good close-ups of everything! That spider pic is great! What is the difference between dragonflies and damselflies? Are the related?

  5. Tom - I believe the damselfly is a male, based on the apparent presence of claspers at the tip of the abdomen, which the male uses to clasp the neck of the female during mating.

    Mary - Dragonflies and damselflies are related. The former are generally larger, more robust, and hold their wings spread out horizontally when resting. The latter are generally much smaller and more delicately built, and they hold their wings folded together above their abdomen when at rest.

  6. Bugs can sometimes be more fun than the birds!

  7. Sigh! My first visit to your blog fills me with camera envy (time to upgrade my point'n'shoot) but most of all, plant and bug envy! So many gorgeous pictures of so many beautiful things. I'm going to enjoy reading here, that's for sure :)

  8. This is such a fantastic post. I love those shots. I have to confess though, I have not seen a damselfly, ever.

    I lived in Ohio for about 7 years. They have black squirels there that are so pretty but very aggressive. Have you got them where you are?

  9. All of the photos are amazing but the spider is stupendous. I have NEVER seen that happen. I can't stop looking at that and try to imagine being an insect that is fooled by that posture. What a different world they live in and we have no idea what it's' like.

  10. Tom, what stunning photographs. I looove dragonfly iredescent wings and can't wait for them to fly around here. A great post!!! Never thought of damselfly before. Cool.

    I have a question. When taking landscape photos with your Canon, what creative mode and fstop do you use? I'm wishing to crisp up my landscape scenes more than the landscape auto. I've tried some different settings and am not altogether delighted yet. Perhaps I need a different lens than the 18-55 mm because of the depth of focus. Would you go wide angle or telephoto?

    Hugs, JJ

  11. Beautiful pictures. You always have such interesting posts!

  12. David- Ahh yes. The tables are turned now. That is what is great about the Oz-US nature blogger relationship. Whenever we need a little summer, its always there out there somewhere in cyberspace.

    Lana- Yeah, it sure does, doesn't it!

    Guy- Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head here. I'm not that much into predator, but remember his face from my friends who collected comic books.

    Mary- Thanks go to Ted for the damsel/dragon information.

    Monarch- Yeah, birds have really quieted down here, it is unfortunate that many of the colorful migrating warblers do just that- migrate. ALas, they will be back.

    Bird- Thanks for the kind words and I do hope you come back!

    Andree- Yes, it is quite strange, isn't it? I like your perspective-trying to see the world as this spider sees it.

    Hmm- JJ- we should chat- e-mail me.

    Linda- thanks a bunch!


  13. Great macros! I especially like the head-on spider shot.