Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Widow Skimmer

This morning’s photo was a lucky one for me as I have notoriously poor luck taking photos of dragonflies. Last night it stormed again, though this time I didn’t get hit with the worst of the wind and lightning. So this morning it is foggy and still raining a bit, and I was planning to get a foggy morning forest photo. While I was setting up that shot, I suddenly saw this Widow Skimmer on a leaf almost in front of me. Miracle of miracles, it didn’t fly before I got a quick shot.

Widow skimmers are a common dragonfly in most of the U.S. They are probably the most common ospecies here on Roundtop. This dragonfly got the name "widow" as the male doesn’t stay with the female after she lays her eggs, as most of them do. This dragonfly is, I think, a male, though perhaps not quite an adult male. Males have white areas on the outside of the black area on the wing. This one has a bit of that, though his white area isn’t nearly as defined or as large as others I’ve seen.

There’s a good site called NJOdes (for New Jersey Odonates) that specializes in dragonflies and has tons of good photos and information to help ID them, at least for the New Jersey species. Still, many dragonflies are pretty widespread, so even folks not from the east coast may well find what they’re trying to ID here.

So today is likely going to be a long day for me. The storm came through last night around 2 a.m. (I think), bringing thunder, lightning, rain, wind and the sudden appearance of 60 lb. Dog on my bed. This time, the closest lightning strike was about a mile away, plenty close enough. The storm continued to around 4 a.m., when things finally quieted enough for me to fall back asleep. As I said, this time I didn’t get the worst of the storm, but a short night’s sleep will likely keep me out of sorts, at least until I get an extra cup of coffee.


Lynne said...

Nice photo Carolyn. What's that lobed leaf in front of it? It kind of resembles the leaves on my mulberry. Hope the coffee helps. You've really had a bumpy stretch of weather.

John said...

Widow Skimmer is one of my favorites.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: the plant in front of the dragonfly is a leaf from a Sassafras tree.

Carolyn H.

Llinda in Erie said...

Very interesting about dragonflies. Since the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage I started taking an interest in trying to identify some that I see. I'm going to keep my eyes open for the Widow Skimmer.

Carolyn H said...

Linda: I think dragonflies are very fun, and there's so many of them. IDing them isn't always easy but it is fun trying. I'm always surprised by how many different ones I see.

Carolyn H.