July 6th, 2008

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

80 acres: hot, dry, hanging on

Despite the heat and drought conditions, life hangs on.   Though the ironweed out in the field has only one or two florets open at a time, down in the creek woods, a patch has almost-normal flower heads.  Busy there today was a Cuckoo Leaf-cutter Bee, a crypto-parasite of another bee...it invades the other bee's nest (which is packed with pollen) and puts its own eggs there.   However, when not doing that, it's a handsome little insect, though I couldn't get an image with the green eyes showing clearly.


I photographed three different dragonflies today--two of them I already had good images for (but you never know; you might get lucky) and one I didn't.   This is a  Spot-winged Glider, Pantala hymenaea, and the only other time I'd seen one slow down enough to photograph, it was over my head in a cedar tree--the images aren't that good.  This time, I managed to get a perfect dorsal view showing the hind-wing spots that give the critter its name.


The other two dragonflies were a male Swift Setwing, Dythemis velox, and a female Widow Skimmer, Libellula luctuosa.  The Spot-winged Glider was flying with others (and possibly some Wandering Gliders) well over my head in the area we've named Dragon Alley--a favorite hangout for dragonflies on windy days.  I'm lucky this one decided to rest.  The Widow Skimmer was in the same area, but flying much lower, out of the wind between the two lines of trees.  The setwing was hanging out just inside the creek woods entrance, a favorite area for them.