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Archive for the ‘wildlife’ Category

Although many damselflies are black and blue in coloration, I was particularly struck by the powdery blue coloration on the upper body of this damselfly when I first spotted it, a beautiful shade of blue interrupted only by a very thin line of black. I did some searching about on the internet and have concluded that this is probably a Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis).

I really like the way that the blue colors of this damselfly help it stand out in an otherwise mostly monochromatic image. I also enjoy the fact that this damselfly comes from a family of dancers, a term that seems appropriate for these aerial acrobats.

Dance on, tiny damselflies, dance on through the summer.

 

Blue-fronted Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Whenever I see a patch of milkweed I will usually stop and and watch and wait. Milkweed attracts such a colorful cast of insect characters that it reminds me a little of the Mos Eisley Cantina in the original Star Wars movie.

My patience was rewarded this past Saturday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge when a Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) stopped by for a visit and I was able to capture this image.

Monarch butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A breeze was blowing on Saturday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and this male Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) seemed to be struggling to maintain its perch as it was buffeted from side to side.

Halloween Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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The combination of springtime rain and summertime heat in our area has caused a real explosion of insects. Some of them, like deer flies and mosquitoes, mercilessly harass me when I go out with my camera, but a lot of them are amazingly beautiful, like this spectacular Common Wood Nymph butterfly (Cercyonis pegala) that I spotted this past weekend at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Many woodland butterflies are rather drab in appearance and it is hard for me to identify their species. With the Common Wood Nymph, though, the yellow patch on the wings makes them almost instantly recognizable.

Common Wood Nymph

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Technically speaking, “great” is not a part of the name of the Green Heron (Butorides virescens), but I would argue that this diminutive bundle of personality is just as deserving of the honor as the more common Great Blue Heron.

I was thrilled to see my first Green Heron in quite some time on Saturday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The little heron was perched on some vegetation growing out of the marshy, duckweed-covered water as it took a break from fishing to do a bit of preening. While the heron was grooming itself, it often had its head tucked out of view, so I had to wait for quite some time to capture this pose, a pose that highlights the beautiful colors and patterns of this great Green Heron

Green Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I watched a dragonfly flying around in the air for quite some time yesterday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and was thrilled when it finally perched for a moment on some vegetation low to the ground. Initially I thought that it was a Wandering Glider, a migratory species that I had seen a few times previously at this wildlife refuge.

After I posted an image to a couple of Facebook dragonfly fora, I learned that the dragonfly was in fact not a Wandering Glider, but instead was a close relative, a Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea). I like the way that Kevin Munroe described this species on his website Dragonflies of Northern Virginia—”Along with the Wandering Glider, this is the albatross of the dragonfly world. Both species are highly-evolved for sustained, efficient flight, drifting over summer fields for hours, like sea birds over a green ocean.”

If you look closely at this dragonfly’s hind wings, you will see that they are broader and appear less fragile than those of many other dragonflies. According to Dennis Paulson in his book Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East, within the genus Pantala, “The very broad hindwings represent an important adaptation for gliding, as does the ability to deposit fat and then use it for energy during a long flight just as a migratory bird does.”

It boggles my mind to think of these tiny creatures migrating for hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles. Wow!

 

Spot-winged Glider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Six years ago today my photography mentor Cindy Dyer sat me down and told me that I was going to start a blog. She showed me the basics of WordPress editing and navigation and helped me set up my initial pages. I don’t think that either of us anticipated the degree to which I would grow to love the process of blogging, a process that has allowed me to express myself creatively in both words and images

WordPress data show that I have published 2768 posts and have had approximately 170800 views. Those posts have included 429649 words (about 155 words per posting) and well over 3000 photos.

The importance of my blog, though, cannot be expressed merely in numbers. More significantly the blog has helped me to develop relationships with a lot of different viewers, to share with you the different steps on my meandering journey into photography. Thanks to all of you for helping me along the way and sharing your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. I especially owe a debt of gratitude to Cindy Dyer for motivating me throughout this entire period, for pushing me at times when I was hesitant, and for serving as my museThanks, Cindy.

To celebrate this anniversary, I thought I would reprise a few of my favorite photos. These are not necessarily my most popular images or my “best” images, but they are ones that are particularly memorable to me. I am also including links to the original postings so you can read the accompanying text and additional commentary about the circumstances under which they were captured.

Links to original postings: Visible Song (8 March 2016); Fox on a frozen pond (31 January 2016); and Rescue of an injured Bald Eagle (4 November 2014).

Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement over these past six years. The journey continues onward.

Visible song

fox on frozen pond

eagle resuce

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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