I left off last time with a question. What was this thing sitting on my finger?
Well its whats left after one of these...
is finished emerging from it's larval form. The thing on my finger is the abandoned dried out husk, the last larval skin of a Southern Dog Day Cicada (Tibicen davisi). You find these things on tree trunks, fence posts and in this case Banished Jr's swing set. They usually emerge only once the sun has gone down. But this one chose dusk and close enough to the deck to be seen moving.
These hot August days we find a dozen or so fresh cast-offs every morning. And the 'song' isn't that gentle sussuration recalled from southern Europe. These things sound like over worked powertools in the trees as the temperature rises.
We also had a couple of our less frequent dragonfly visitors in the garden today.
This is a female Widow Skimmer. I snapped a male in July at Hoffler Creek.
And this very striking deep blue dragon is a male Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta ).
The Spangled Skimmer is very similar but they can be told apart by the stigma on the wings. These are the dark bars on the leading edges of each wing. They vary from species to species and are sometimes an important ID point. Here they are long and wholly dark. The Spangled has a long stigma too but its half dark and half white.
And this Eastern Pond Hawk just looks good.