Friday, June 12, 2009

The Swamp Darner

I consider 2007, for me, the year of the dragons. Living near a major river in Columbus, the Olentangy, I was hooked all summer and photographed dozens of species and hundreds of individuals. After we bought our house in Worthington, I live less than a mile from the river, but it just isn't the same. I miss photographing dragons, and two weeks ago on the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, I had a great photo op of a beautiful dragon called the swamp darner. This a really big bug that frequents wet woods and swamps, which are wetlands with woody trees or shrubs.

Even better, I managed to get a shot of this female ovipositing, a fancy way of saying that she was laying eggs. She was quite focused on laying her eggs in the damp log, and allowed me to approach fairly close with the point and shoot camera I was carrying that day.

Eventually, she did find my presence annoying, or she was simply done laying eggs. She flew up and rested in the leaves of a Hawthorn tree. In the shot above, you can see her feather shaped cerci at the tip of the abdomen.

All in all, this creature was a surprise for me- We spent most of the day surveying diked, open marshes, but ended up in a closed canopy swamp forest. Definitely a great way to end the day.



  1. Ooooh, love those beautiful green stripes! Great photos, Tom. Thanks for showing them to us.

  2. Very nice photos! I've been looking at swamp darner larvae a lot recently. In my opinion, swamp darners are one of the most aesthetically pleasing larva of all aeshnids. However, I don't recall seeing any adults yet this year.

  3. Jackie- Thanks very much. I wonder if these creatures make it up your way.

    MFB- Interesting. What do they look like? I've seen swamp darners the past two seasons, both at sites near the coast of Lake Erie, one even on Kelleys Island.