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Posts Tagged ‘Libellula incesta’

As many of you know, I love trying to capture images of dragonflies in flight. This Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) cooperated by periodically hovering a bit during a recent trip that I made to Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. The first two images show you some of the details of the dragonfly’s body, including the way it tucks in its legs when in flight, and the final image gives you a wider view of the environment in which I was shooting.

Slaty Skimmer

slaty skimmer

slaty skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love the dark, slate-blue tones of the male Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta), one of the most common dragonflies in our area.  The beauty of this handsome Slaty Skimmer was further enhanced by the colorful backdrop that I managed to capture this past Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

It is hard to come up with a composition that is more basic—beauty can often be found in simplicity.

Slaty Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When they are immature, the males and females of many dragonfly species are very similar in coloration. To make matters worse, immature dragonflies of several different species are also similar in appearance, with only subtle differences to distinguish one species from another, like the color of the upper portions of their legs.

As a result, I am not really sure of my identification of this particular dragonfly. I lean towards it being an immature male Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans), but it might instead be a Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta). (The adults of these two species, by contrast, are very different in appearance and would never be mistaken for each other.)

Whatever the case, I love the two-toned eyes and overall body position of this beautiful dragonfly. It might be my imagination, but it seemed to me that the dragonfly had tilted its head a bit to check me out.

Great Blue Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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With most of my dragonfly shots, I try to get as close as I can to the dragonfly, either my moving or by zooming, in order to highlight my subject. If I am not able to do so, I will often crop the image during post-processing.

Sometimes, though, I will intentionally keep my distance and will carefully compose the image to include more environmental elements. That was the case yesterday during a quick trip to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens with my photography mentor Cindy Dyer. Cindy needed to drop off some prints at the gift shop and I had a few minutes to grab a few shots.

Dragonfly perches generally are not very interesting, often just dried-out branches sticking out of the water. I was excited, therefore, when I spotted a male Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) perching on a purple Pickerelweed plant (Pontederia cordata).  I positioned myself to capture an additional pickerelweed plant in the background, pretty sure that it would be out of focus and not be too distracting. The cool colors and the sinuous curves of the plants in the background combine to create an “artsy” image that I really like.

 

Slaty Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) seemed to covet a prime perching position yesterday at Hidden Pond Nature Center in Springfield, Virginia and took action to try to dislodge the Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) that was occupying the perch.

The Blue Dasher was successful and occupied the top position for a little while, but eventually the larger Slaty Skimmer resumed the position at the top and the Blue Dasher was relegated to a lower spot on the plant.

Coming in for the attack

Coming in for the attack

The attack

The attack

Temporarily on top

Temporarily on top

battle4_blog

Relegated to the bottom

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I love the juxtaposition of natural and man-made elements in this shot of a Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) perched recently on a piece of rebar sticking out of the water at Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge.

The colors and shape enhance the visual contrast between the two primary elements in this very graphic and simple composition. Photography doesn’t always have to be complicated to be effective—I need that reminder from time to time.

Slaty Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Are you attracted to dark-eyed beauties? If so, you would have loved this Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) that flew directly toward me and hovered in mid-air while appearing to check me out this past weekend at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge.

On his Dragonflies of Northern Virginia website, dragonfly expert Kevin Munroe offered two explanations for this kind of behavior by Slaty Skimmer dragonflies. It is possible that these dragonflies are exceptionally curious, if not actually friendly. However, he suggested, it is more likely that this dragonfly was exhibiting territorial aggression toward a perceived intruder.

After a few seconds of staring at me, the dragonfly turned and flew away, ready to fight off other intruders and search for a potential mate.

Slaty Skimmer

Slaty Skimmer

 

Slaty Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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