Summer Odes

Top Photo: Male blue dasher perched and ready to sally forth.

In the photo below a pair of blue dashers mate, assuming the “wheel” or “heart” position. This is when sperm is transferred from the male’s accessory genitalia to the tip of the female’s abdomen where her eggs will be fertilized.

Blue dashers in the “wheel” or “heart” position.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, great blue skimmers are the largest eastern skimmer. They’re a common sight at ponds, lakes, and slow moving rivers and streams.

Great blue skimmer.

Slaty skimmer is another common dragonfly at ponds, lakes, and slower areas of rivers and streams. Slate-colored, and slightly smaller than great blue skimmers, you should have little problem finding slaty skimmers at most ponds. They like to perch on twigs near or over water.

Male slaty skimmer.

At the end of a hot and humid day, while standing in front of the entrance to Earth Moves, I spotted a saddlebags flying up and down the path, hawking insects. I quickly deployed my camera and attempted to get a few passing shots. Here’s a couple of images of the Carolina saddlebags as it flew above me.

Saddlebags hawking overhead.
Carolina saddlebags hunting airborne insects.

The wandering glider has been observed on every continent except Antartica. These dragonflies are constantly on the wing, on an endless journey criss-crossing continents and oceans. They’re regularly seen over the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles from land, between the tip of India and equatorial east Africa (Somalia, Kenya). Their migratory behavior there and elsewhere is well documented. They are truly wandering gliders.

Likely to be seen in the air.

More often than not seen on the wing, occasionally you may find a fresh individual still drying out from its metamorphic conversion from aquatic to aerial life. Hang around the sail boat pond and you may get a look at one. They’re often seen gliding about parking lots where you may see one attempt to lay eggs on the hood of your car, mistaking its shiny surface for a puddle of water.

Tucked down in among the vegetation, this freshly emerged wandering glider will soon take flight.

It may be hot out there, but getting outside is the best way, the only way, to enjoy the sights of summer. See you there.

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