Caught in flight!

It’s no mean feat, capturing a dragonfly in flight! Especially since I do not use a motor drive on my camera.

Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)
Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)                        Photo by Bette J. Kauffman

This is only the second successful such shot in probably 5 years of seriously pursuing dragonflies. Needless to say, I have hundreds of frames of blurry dragonflies! Well, I have discarded most of them, but… you get the idea.

Why attempt this? One reason is that P. flavescens lives up to its common name. This species doesn’t perch much. It is constantly on the move. My other successful shot of a dragonfly in flight is the same species.

Only once have I encountered this rather common species in a perching mood. It was on in the middle of a hot, hot summer day on the edge of a field in Morehouse Parish, and all of the dragonflies were in the shade and perching a lot. So I do have a photo of a perched Wandering Glider–but only one.

Yesterday on my way home from the Cajun Prairie Preservation Society meeting, I stopped at a place I have been photographing for perhaps 10 years. It is a quarry on the east side of Highway 165 just north of the north entrance to Camp Hardtner, and I have documented the return of this site from a raw, barren scar on the face of the earth to an ever greener oasis.

Yesterday, the air was full of dragonflies. I glimpsed at least four species, two of which I have never seen at that site before. But none of them were perching! Not one dragonfly perched for even a split second the entire 45 minutes or so I was there.

Why? I have no idea why dragonflies at times do not perch, but I have observed this before. Maybe we’ll find a dragonfly expert to do a lecture for Master Naturalists?!

BTW, I’m thinking my photos and observations of the changing landscape of The Quarry might make a book one day.