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Posts Tagged ‘Tamron 180mm’

Although many damselflies are black and blue in coloration, I was particularly struck by the powdery blue coloration on the upper body of this damselfly when I first spotted it, a beautiful shade of blue interrupted only by a very thin line of black. I did some searching about on the internet and have concluded that this is probably a Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis).

I really like the way that the blue colors of this damselfly help it stand out in an otherwise mostly monochromatic image. I also enjoy the fact that this damselfly comes from a family of dancers, a term that seems appropriate for these aerial acrobats.

Dance on, tiny damselflies, dance on through the summer.

 

Blue-fronted Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I love to watch bees as they gather pollen—they seem so industrious and focused as they systematically work their way through a group of flowers. This honey bee had both of its pollen sacs almost completely filled when I spotted it yesterday on a cone flower in the garden of one of my neighbors, fellow photographer Cindy Dyer.

One of the joys of shooting with a macro lens is that it lets you capture so many fine details, like the pollen grains on the legs of this bee and the slight damage on the trailing edges of the bee’s wings. Bees are also a great subject to practice macro techniques, because they often let you get really close without being spooked and flying away.

honey bee

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Whenever I see a patch of milkweed I will usually stop and and watch and wait. Milkweed attracts such a colorful cast of insect characters that it reminds me a little of the Mos Eisley Cantina in the original Star Wars movie.

My patience was rewarded this past Saturday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge when a Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) stopped by for a visit and I was able to capture this image.

Monarch butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A breeze was blowing on Saturday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and this male Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) seemed to be struggling to maintain its perch as it was buffeted from side to side.

Halloween Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Even if you find spiders a bit creepy (which I don’t), you can’t help but admire the beauty and artistry of their webs. This spider, which I think is a Black and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia), went a little crazy with its zigzag pattern this past weekend at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Most of the time the webs of these spiders have a single zigzag pattern that leads to the center of the web. This spider, which seemed smaller than many of the others of this species that I have seen, for some unknown reason decided to repeat the pattern multiple times, which helped me to spot the web more easily.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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The combination of springtime rain and summertime heat in our area has caused a real explosion of insects. Some of them, like deer flies and mosquitoes, mercilessly harass me when I go out with my camera, but a lot of them are amazingly beautiful, like this spectacular Common Wood Nymph butterfly (Cercyonis pegala) that I spotted this past weekend at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Many woodland butterflies are rather drab in appearance and it is hard for me to identify their species. With the Common Wood Nymph, though, the yellow patch on the wings makes them almost instantly recognizable.

Common Wood Nymph

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I watched a dragonfly flying around in the air for quite some time yesterday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and was thrilled when it finally perched for a moment on some vegetation low to the ground. Initially I thought that it was a Wandering Glider, a migratory species that I had seen a few times previously at this wildlife refuge.

After I posted an image to a couple of Facebook dragonfly fora, I learned that the dragonfly was in fact not a Wandering Glider, but instead was a close relative, a Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea). I like the way that Kevin Munroe described this species on his website Dragonflies of Northern Virginia—”Along with the Wandering Glider, this is the albatross of the dragonfly world. Both species are highly-evolved for sustained, efficient flight, drifting over summer fields for hours, like sea birds over a green ocean.”

If you look closely at this dragonfly’s hind wings, you will see that they are broader and appear less fragile than those of many other dragonflies. According to Dennis Paulson in his book Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East, within the genus Pantala, “The very broad hindwings represent an important adaptation for gliding, as does the ability to deposit fat and then use it for energy during a long flight just as a migratory bird does.”

It boggles my mind to think of these tiny creatures migrating for hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles. Wow!

 

Spot-winged Glider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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