Monday, September 23, 2013

Solar Power...Necessary for Late Season Dragonfly Watching

The dragonfly-watching (all bugs really) season is winding down, fewer species of lesser numbers are extant. The Bitterroot Mountain peaks have snow and daytime highs are only reaching low 60's F. Yes, time of year impacts watching these colorful insects. But, so do clouds blocking the sun in the heat of the summer; this can dramatically reduce dragonfly activity. The reverse is true in the spring/fall, solar power is the magic component for observing late season dragonflies and may be required for habitat occupancy (research). Conditions today close to acceptable, partly cloudy and about 60 F. So I made a quick trip (second time lately, visited on September 3) to Chief Looking Glass Fishing Access Site to find/photograph Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa); need a good flight shot for my G+ Dragonfly-'Darner' album. Waited several minutes at arrival for large patch of blue sky to effect dragonfly activity; yep, it worked had a Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) perch on a rock in the shallow river.
Autumn Meadowhawk
Shortly thereafter had a darner fly past about a foot above the water. Followed and got a shot of a female Shadow Darner laying eggs in or near tree branch in river. Had success in finding a male Shadow, but the resulting photo not exactly National Geographic quality. Nature and Photography website has some good advice for photographing dragonflies. I'm going to try again, maybe multiple times if we have a typical 'indian summer' this fall. Find something cool yourself.
Shadow Darner (female)
Shadow Darner (male in flight)