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Posts Tagged ‘male Calico Pennant’

Almost all of the male Calico Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis elisa) that I have seen this season have been immature. How can I tell? When male Calico Pennants are young their abdomens are bright yellow, like those of the females. As they mature their abdomens turn a beautiful shade of red, like the male Calico Pennant in the image below that I captured on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

You might think that it would be easy to spot a dragonfly with such gaudy colors, but Calico Pennants are small and elusive. I usually manage to find them in the waist high vegetation in a field at the edge of a small pond at the refuge.

If you would like to compare the coloration of this male Calico Pennant with that of an immature male, check out the my posting from a couple of weeks ago entitled “Immature Calico Pennant dragonfly.”

Calico Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Some of the dragonfly species that I search for are around for only a few weeks, while other species have a flight season of multiple months. Calico Pennants (Celithemis elisa) are in the latter category. I photographed some Calico Pennants in the middle of June and spotted this colorful immature male this past Tuesday—I am happy to see that they are still around.

Calico Pennants are so small—about 1.3 inches (33 mm) in length—that many viewers have probably never seen one. I love their bright colors and multi-colored wing markings. Adult males are red while females and immature males, like this one, are yellow. I can tell that this one is a male because of the distinctive appendages at the tip of the abdomen.

If you want to see photos of a female Calico Pennant and an adult male, be sure to check out the earlier posting entitled “Calico Pennant dragonflies in June.”

 

Calico Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Last Friday I spotted this handsome adult male Calico Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis elisa) while exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge with my friend and fellow dragonfly enthusiast Walter Sanford.  Earlier this month I did a posting entitled Mosaic Wings that featured a photo of an immature male of this same species that had a bright yellow body. This image gives you an idea of how the body color changes to red as the male Calico Pennant dragonfly matures.

 

Calico Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Dragonfly wings are amazing, but most of the time they are so transparent that it is hard to see all of the tiny little “cells” that make up the wings. Last Friday, though, I captured this shot of an immature male Calico Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis elisa) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge that really highlights the beautiful mosaic-like pattern of its hind wings. Wow!

Calico Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Last Tuesday as I was exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge I spotted this handsome male Calico Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis elisa). Unlike some species that perch close to the ground and are hard to see, Calico Pennants perch on the uttermost tips of vegetation. Although they are visible, they are often hard to photograph, because their precarious perches start to sway at the slightest hint of a breeze.

Calico Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It is great to see that at least a few colorful Calico Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis elisa) are still around. I photographed this handsome male last Friday as he perched at water’s edge at the small pond at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Summer is slowly slipping away. Some species of dragonflies are already gone for the year and others will soon follow suit. A few species have yet to appear, so all of the news is not bad. Still, as kids return to school and the daylight hours become noticeably shorter, it’s hard not to have the feeling that the lazy days of summer are coming to a close.

Autumn is my favorite season for a number of different reasons, but I am not quite ready to give up on summer. So I’ll keep sweating and searching, seeking to capture the summer beauty that still surrounds us. Like this dragonfly, I’m still holding on.

calico pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I was really happy to spot a couple of male Calico Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis elisa) during a visit today to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Woodbridge, Virginia. The weather was pretty cool when I set out early this morning, about 56 degrees (13 degrees C), so I was not certain that I would be able to find many dragonflies. Fortunately for me it warmed up a bit and a few dragonflies appeared.

The bright red color of this dragonfly helps a little in finding them, but Calico Pennants are pretty small and it is easy to lose them in the vegetation. I shot the first two shots with my Canon 50D DSLR and Tamron 150-600mm telephoto zoom lens and the third one with my Canon SX50 super zoom camera. The poses are not identical, but I think that you can see how much shallower the depth of field is when using the DSLR than the point-and-and-shoot—I think it is related to the difference in the size of the sensors in the cameras.

Calico Pennant

Calico Pennant

Calico Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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