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Posts Tagged ‘Libellula axilena’

Last Tuesday I spotted several beautiful Bar-winged Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula axilena) while I was exploring a small pond in Prince William County, Virginia. The dragonflies kept choosing beautiful, but flimsy perches, so I did not have much time snag shots of them before they flew away.

According to the Dragonflies of Northern Virginia website, Bar-winged Skimmers have relatively specific habitat needs and consequently are one of the less common skimmers in our area. “It prefers very shallow marshy pools in the full sun. If there’s enough water for fish, it’s too deep for Bar-winged Skimmers. And of course shallow pools in the full sun tend to quickly evaporate and dry up, so stable populations in Northern Virginia are few and far between.”

I really like the backgrounds that I was able to capture in these shots—they are colorful, but not at all distracting. If you look closely at the leading edges of the wings, you can see the black spots and stripes that give rise to the name of this species.

Bar-winged Skimmer

Bar-winged Skimmer

Bar-winged Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I had a really close encounter with this male Bar-winged Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula axilena) last Thursday while exploring a small pond in Prince William County, Virginia with fellow dragonfly enthusiast and blogger Walter Sanford. It is a challenge to handhold a macro shot when I am that close to a live subject, but the dragonfly was pretty cooperative and stayed put while I composed the shot. The colorful vegetation on which he was perched added some additional visual interest to the image without drawing attention away from the primary subject.

Bar-winged Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Like many other nature photographers who take pictures of birds and dragonflies, I am always looking for subjects that have chosen photogenic perches or are engaged in some interesting activity. Some photographers even look derisively at commonplace photos of “a bird on a stick.” Yes, it is always nice when I can capture images like yesterday’s shots of a Prince Baskettail dragonfly in flight, but the reality is that most birds and dragonflies spend a lot of time perched in a single spot and I do my best to capture their beauty as well as I can.

I was thrilled on Tuesday to see quite a few Bar-winged Skimmers (Libellula axilena) as I explored a small pond in Prince William County. I do not see Bar-winged Skimmers very often and the Dragonflies of Northern Virginia website notes that they are “uncommon” in our area. Superficially they look a bit like the Great Blue Skimmers and Slaty Skimmers that I see quite often. Great Blue Skimmers, however, have bright white faces and male Slaty Skimmers tend to have more uniformly dark bodies.

I was particularly excited when one of the Bar-winged Skimmers that I was tracking perched on a bent-over stalk of vegetation, giving me a great view of both its abdomen and its face. The second shot is a bit more of an ordinary view, but it shows the wing markings really well that are responsible for the common name of this species. In both images, I was thrilled as well with the beautiful green background.

Bar-winged Skimmer

Bar-winged Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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It’s unusual for me to take a photograph of a dragonfly with my camera pointed upward, but this Bar-winged Skimmer (Libellula axilena) kept perching in the branches of a downed tree limb, enabling me to include a little patch of sky in some of the shots. This is a new species for me that was pointed out to me by fellow photographer Walter Sanford when we ran into each other at one of our favorite spots at our local marshland park. The second shot shows part of the wing pattern that is responsible for the common name of this species, “Bar-winged.”

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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