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Posts Tagged ‘Banded Pennant’

Perhaps it was a territorial dispute, but whatever the reason, a male Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) came screaming in determined to dislodge a perched male Banded Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis fasciata) on Thursday at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens and achieved his goal. A few moments earlier I had spotted the two dragonflies perched in a moment of peaceful co-existence (with appropriate social distancing), but that moment of tranquility did not last very long.

Can’t we all just get along and live in harmony with one another?

Halloween Pennant and Banded Pennant

Halloween Pennant and Banded Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Emerging is a dangerous experience for dragonflies and doubly so when they do it in the rain. As the water-dwelling nymph is transformed into a beautiful aerial acrobat, it is very vulnerable to predators and weather. Initially the wings are extremely fragile and it takes some time for them to harden enough to permit flying.

On Monday, it was drizzling when I spotted this female Banded Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis fasciata) at a small pond in Northern Virginia. Its metamorphosis is almost complete and I am optimistic that it managed to weather the storm and survive its transformation. If you double click on the image, you can see it in higher resolution and see some of the wonderful details and patterns of its body and wings, as well as some drops of rain.

In case you are curious about a dragonfly’s magical metamorphosis, I was able to observe entire process two years ago with a Common Sanddragon dragonfly and documented it in a series of 15 photos in a blog posting entitled Metamorphosis of a dragonfly. The images are pretty intense and utterly amazing—I encourage you to check them out.

Banded Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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During a quick trip to Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge at Fort Belvoir, Virginia last weekend, I was thrilled to see that the spectacularly patterned Banded Pennant dragonflies are still around. This is the only location that I visit regularly where I have spotted this dragonfly species and I am never quite sure when an encounter will be the last one of the season.

As I was looking over the two shots that I chose to use with this posting, I realized that they represent two different approaches that I use when photographing dragonflies. Ideally I will try to position myself so that the camera’s sensor is parallel with the dragonfly’s wings and most of the dragonfly will be in focus. That was the case with the second shot and it really highlights the beautiful pattern of the wings. However, the image seems a bit too static for my taste. I prefer the first shot, in part because the pose is more dynamic and the direct eye contact with the dragonfly draws me in.

Banded Pennant

Banded Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday I spotted my first Banded Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis fasciata) of the season at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. I love the beautiful blue color of its body and its boldly patterned wings. The males of this species seem to like to show off a bit by perching on the very tip of vegetation, which is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because the dragonflies are easier to spot than those that perch low in the vegetation. It is a curse, however, because the slightest breeze causes the dragonflies to oscillate madly, making it tougher to get sharp shots of them.

Banded Pennant

 

Banded Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of the highlights for me of a short visit yesterday to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia was spotting this spectacular dragonfly, which I think is a female Banded Pennant (Celithemis fasciata).

Earlier this summer, I spotted a male Banded Pennant, whose body was blue, but the coloration of this one suggests to me that it is a female. The dragonfly was perched on the highest branches of a small tree, which allowed me to isolate it against the beautiful blue sky. You may notice that the branches are different in the two photos—the dragonfly flew away a few times, but returned to the same tree a short time later.

CORRECTION: My initial identification was incorrect. My local dragonfly expert, Walter Sanford, with whom I neglected to consult in advance, provided a correct identification. This is a female Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina), not a Banded Pennant.

 

Banded Pennant

Banded Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday I made a trip to Jackson Miles Abbot Wetlands Refuge at Fort Belvoir, a local military base, and was thrilled to see a Banded Pennant dragonfly (Celethemis fasciata), a cool-looking species that fellow photographer Walter Sanford spotted at that location on 24 July. (Check out his posting of that encounter to see some more shots of a Banded Pennant.)

Like other pennant dragonflies, such as the Halloween Pennant that I photographed earlier this summer, the Banded Pennant likes to perch at the very tip of tall grass and other vegetation. A pennant dragonfly is sometimes easier to spot than those species that perch lower, but the slightest breeze sets the dragonfly in motion and makes it more difficult to photograph.

I spotted only a single Banded Pennant yesterday, but managed to get a number of shots before it flew away, though most of them were from pretty much the same angle. As I looked over the images, I couldn’t decide which was the most effective way to present the dragonfly. Was it better to maximize the size of the dragonfly by cropping it a square or to emphasize the height of the vegetation by using a vertical format?

In the end, I didn’t choose, but instead presented a shot in each of the two formats? Do you have a preference for one over the other?

 

Banded Pennant

Banded Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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