Friday, June 6, 2014


Warming up now with summer just about here and hurricane season officially started (whoo whoo :-l )
And the dragonflies are finally out in numbers and I've been shooting them in the yard plus another trip to Norfolk Botanical.

The Painted Skimmer that I shot for the first time last summer at Hoffler Creek seems to be moving in around here in bigger numbers all of a sudden. They have been all over the yard the last couple of weeks and are especially fond of the tips of the fence posts where they will happily perch for ages zipping out now and then to grab a mosquito or midge to munch on and returning to munch and pose.

The Eastern Pondhawk is always with us. This is a young male still green and black with very little change to blue, just a shading on the thorax maybe.

The Blue Dashers too are numerous, over the course of the season I'm sure we see more of these than any other species. And they are another percher that will patiently let you take its picture and even if disturbed will return to the same perch so long as you stand still for a moment.

It is interesting how the species that turn up in the yard have changed somewhat over the 10 years I've been here. This is an Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) a very small dragon that used to be very numerous on the pond and in the yard too. But this was the first I've seen this year and it made me think that I rarely see one at all these last couple of years. Ponds change, become more or less vegetated, the fish and turtle populations change and the dragonfly populations change with them. Amberwings particularly skim very low over the pond surface and seem to be prey to larger fish and turtles.

The Four Spotted Pennant (above) used to be very common too using the same fence post perches as the Painted Skimmers do now. But I haven't seen one in the yard in around 5 years.... very odd.

Meanwhile, back in Norfolk,  Great Blue Skimmers were everywhere immature males like the top one of theses, not yet turned blue. The third is half turned with a blue thorax and a blue sheen to the abdomen but the immature stripes still visible.

There were beasts to be seen besides dragonflies though. 
Above is the Painted Lady (Vanessa atalanta) which looks very like its american cousin V. virginiensis but there are differences in the underwing eye spots. The American Lady has fewer but larger spots spots on the hind underwing.

This is my first Fritillary of the year, the passionflower loving Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

The Margined Leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus) is a very common flower beetle found in huge numbers especially on umbelliferae where they feed on pollen and nectar.  

I'm still waiting to ID this little black/metallic green/cream jumping spider but I'll update when its done. I think maybe a Pellegrina species (but I'm usually wrong). 
And of course I am! Its actually Paraphidippus aurantius

And just look how great the gardens were looking in the low late afternoon sun as we walked through the woodlands.

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