I tend to waft a camera around an awful lot and so end up with various bits and pieces that don’t fit into one of my carefully planned blog posts! So I’ll continue with odes and ends as a title and just put up a few images with comments. I’m also including a few images from Wayne Grubert that I didn’t post at the time but that deserve air time so we’ll start with those.
Wayne is getting slowly drawn into the World of Odeing and has the distinction of one of only three people who have Comet Darner on their Quebec list. An interesting record was a Midland Clubtail Gomphus fraternus (Gomphe fraternal) photographed on Falcon Golf Course, interesting because I wasn’t aware that they were so close, I normally see them in Tremblant.
Wayne also snapped a Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis (Libellule véloce) at Hudson. Blue Dashers were rare in Quebec but started to colonise around six years ago. I remember seeing it at Dundee on Lac St-Francois when it was known only from the odd sighting. Now it is found as far into QC as I’le Bizard but none had been reported from Hudson until this year.
Darners are perhaps the most obvious of odes – big and menacing, especially if you are a fly – but, if they are one of the ‘mosaic’ group they have their own set of ID issues. Some are easier than others and this Shadow Darner Aeshna umbrosa (Aeschne des pénombres)(female) with its straight side stripes is perhaps one of the ones that will give the least headaches if seen well and photographed from the right angle.
Continuing the theme of an earlier post here are a few more of my in-hand shots. I’m doing these shots in order to build up a reference library for myself and to be able to complete my FREE ID guide, an on-line thing that will just be a series of reference photos that can be accessed in the field via and iPod or, if you carry yours with you, iPad.
Below is a Twelve-spotted Skimmer Libellula pulchella (La gracieuse)
Saffron-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum costiferum (Sympétrum rubigineux)
Slender Spreadwing Lestes rectangularis (Leste élancé)
Eastern Forktail Ischnura verticalis (Agrion vertical)
Now let’s talk about hamules! The meadowhawks, the three similar ones, can be hard to ID when they have dirty faces. White-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum obtrusum (Sympétrum éclaireur) with a white face is not a problem but if the face colours up a little with age it is. The real problem comes with Ruby Meadowhawk Sympetrum rubicundulum (Sympétrum à dos roux) and Cherry-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum internum (Sympétrum intime). The former is a southern counterpart of the latter but as ranges change, so does the need for care in field ID. I will happily admit that I prefer to be able to ID my odes in the field and through bins however, to learn how to do that you need to get a really good idea of what your subject really is and even then I’m being wildly optimistic with these two! The tactic sounds obvious but it is all a learning curve and so to supplement my knowledge I’ve been catching and examining meadowhawks. With the wonders of modern digital photography I can now photograph the hamules of a male meadowhawk, if they are showing. If not you could try talking dirty to them, phew, look at the claspers on that or something similar, it’s not a tested method though.
Below are a couple of examples, the hamules are the small bits just after the main body on the underside. They look like rear facing hooks and vary in shape by species. Want to try to guess these two?
Photographing odes is relatively easy. Many will sit and smile, so long as you are cautious in your approach, and you can enjoy them on your PC or whatever at your leisure. Most odeists use a small camera or an SLR with varying types of lens. Fridge merchants, those who chill a captured ode then snap it, will favour expensive macro lenses for full effect. Another option, especially if you are a birder with kit is phonescoping. To do this you need a phone or iPod or in fact anything that takes a photo and a telescope. For some phones (iPhones, iPods etc.) there are purpose made pieces of kits that allow you to take all manner of wildlife shots. I have a modified adaptor for my scope and took the shots of the Twelve-spotted Skimmer and Calico Pennant Celithemis elisa (Célithème indienne) using my iPod. The main problem I have with the system is one of control over the settings – if it is too bright you get a real washout of colour.
Halloween Pennant Celithemis emponina (Célithème géante) – I just like the rusty cast to the shot.
Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera (Périthème délicate) – sat nicely.
White-faced Meadowhawk – common but so what.
Autumn Meadowhawk Sympetrum vicinum (Sympétrum tardif) – flying in numbers now, pale legs and an upside down shark-fin on the underside of the female’s tail.
Band-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum semicinctum (Sympétrum semi-ambré) – just a nice shot in my garden.
Slender Spreadwing – a male.
Finally in what seems like a never ending post, some images of a male Shadow Darner captured in the garden. Our garden is c33,000 square feet and 30% wooded. We have a 4’ x 6’ pond and I mow around the wild flowers even if the neighbours give me funny looks, this all goes to create a wildlife garden of sorts that is attractive to birds (148 species from or in the garden), butterflies (36 species in) and odes. This Shadow Darner was new for the garden and was our 36th species of odonata with more possible, the lake next door has Calico Pennant and I live in hope that one will wander over.
There are still a few odes out there to enjoy and Autumn Meadowhawks can linger pretty late so the season goes on. If you would like to comment or contribute to this blog please feel free to contact me at the email address on the side bar.