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Posts Tagged ‘Tamron 180mm’

Many people associate the color red with autumn because of the brilliant foliage that the season brings forth in places like New England. For me, though, red is an autumn color because of the bright red dragonflies that remain active in October and November (and sometimes even later in the year).

Yes, I continue to chase dragonflies as we move deeper and deeper into autumn. I spotted this handsome male Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly(Sympetrum vicinum) last Wednesday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge in nearby Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Many of the Autumn Meadowhawks that I saw earlier this fall were females, which have a much more subdued coloration. There is nothing subdued about this male, which made it pretty easy to spot him, especially when he perched on a small stump at knee-level. You do have to pay attention to find them, however, because Autumn Meadowhawks are only about 1.3 inches (33 mm) in length.

Autumn Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A sharp-eyed fellow photographer spotted this Northern Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus) at eye level in a tree at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge this past Wednesday as we both were searching for dragonflies. The sun was shining brightly and I suspect the snake was basking in its warm on a relatively cool day. I managed to capture a few shots of this colorful snake before it silently slithered away.

Northern Rough Green Snake

Northern Rough Green Snake

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Female Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum ambiguum) come in several different color variations. Some, like the one in the first image below have a reddish colored body, like the male of the species—they are known as andromorphs. Others are brownish in color, like the one in the second image below, and are know as heteromorphs. Irrespective of the body color, though, all of the females have striking blue eyes.

Usually it is harder to spot females than the more brightly colored males, but for some reason, these two females were the only Blue-faced Meadowhawks that I saw as I was exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge one day last week.

Where were all the males? Maybe they were watching a sporting event or were congregating at a local bar (or both).  🙂

Blue-faced Meadowhawk

Blue-faced Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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What is the fastest animal on earth? My mind immediately thinks of the cheetah, which can run in short bursts at speeds up to 75 miles per hour (121 km/h). Indeed the cheetah is the fastest land animal. However, the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), the fastest member of the animal kingdom, can reach speeds up to 242 miles per hour (389 km/h) when in a dive.

I was thrilled last week to spot this Peregrine Falcon perched at the top of a distant tree while exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The bird was hard to see on an overcast day, but the muscular way that it was perched caused me to conclude that it was a bird of prey. I took this shot with my macro lens in order to document my sighting. As I was pulling out my camera with a longer zoom lens, the falcon flew off into the air. It flew away too fast for me to get a shot

When I read about the top speed of the Peregrine Falcon, I wondered how in the world that speed was determined. I came across this fascinating National Geographic film clip that documents one effort to measure the speed of a Peregrine Falcon. It is a short video that is well worth watching and includes a trained falcon and sky-diving scientists.

I love watching birds of all shapes and sizes, but there is something really special about seeing a powerful raptor like this Peregrine Falcon.

 

Peregrine Falcon

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Whenever I see an Ailanthus Webworm moth (Atteva aurea), I assume that it is some kind of beetle. It is hard to believe that the colorful patterns are actually part of the wings and not a hard exterior shell. I spotted this beautiful little moth on some goldenrod last week while exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The pattern on this insect’s body reminds me of an animal print. Wouldn’t it be cool to have fabric printed with this bold pattern? I can imagine throw pillows and even fashion accessories. From a marketing perspective, though, I think we would have to come up with a new name for the insect—a name like “webworm” probably would not attract many customers.

Ailanthus Webworm moth

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Do you ever stop to look at grasshoppers? A lot of them are really cool, like this giant one that I spotted on Thursday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I love how it looks like the grasshopper is wearing a helmet on its head and a suit of armor on its torso.

I am not very good in identifying grasshopper species, but after looking through various internet sites, I wonder if this might be an Eastern Lubber grasshopper (Romalea guttata). This species is found only in the southeastern part of the United States. Virginia, where I live, is not within its listed range, so it is possible that this is a related species. Whatever the case, I definitely love the bold coloration of this giant grasshopper.

yellow grasshopper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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As many of you know, I love to photograph dragonflies and will often try to get close-up shots of them. Initially I captured a head-on shot of a female Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) that I spotted on Thursday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

As I was observing this dragonfly at close range, she began to groom herself. I am not sure if she was cleaning her eyes or merely scratching an itch, but it was a bit eerie when she rotated her head more than 90 degrees to do so, as you can see in the second image. It brought back memories from my youth of Linda Blair’s spinning head in the original version of The Exorcist, though fortunately the dragonfly’s head did not rotate 360 degrees.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk

Blue-faced Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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