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Posts Tagged ‘Tamron 180mm’

As I was loading camera gear into my car on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I noticed that I had a tiny hitchhiker—a crab spider that looked ready to embrace me with open arms. After photographing the cute little spider, I released it into a grassy area, where it seemed more likely to catch something to eat than on the roof of the car.

I do not have much experience with crab spiders, but think this one might be a Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia). As always, I would welcome a correction or confirmation if you are knowledgeable about spiders.

crab spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Different dragonfly species rest in varying positions. Some of them hang vertically, but most of them perch at somewhat of an acute angle. Last week when I spotted this male Swift Setwing dragonfly (Dythemis velox), I was struck by the degree to which its rigid position reminded me of the diagrams of a right angle in my geometry textbook when I was a schoolboy—the dragonfly and the plant stem seemed to form an almost perfect 90 degree angle. One unusual thing about Swift Setwing dragonfly is the way that it holds its wings forward when perched and not straight out as most dragonflies do. Perhaps it helps to counterbalance the effects of gravity and helps it hold its abdomen so high for so long.

Swift Setwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As the seasons change, some dragonflies begin to disappear, but happily some new ones appear, like this spectacular female Blue-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum ambiguum) that I spotted this past Monday at Huntley Meadows Park.

One of the really cool things about this species is that there are two different color variants of the females. Most of the females (and young males) are brown in color and are sometimes referred to as heteromorphs, while a smaller number of females, like the one in the photo, have a bright red color matching that of mature males and are sometimes referred to as andromorphs. This is roughly parallel to the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, which has two different varieties of female, a yellow morph that matches the males and a black morph.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do you have a favorite insect? This is such a strange question that most folks would not have an immediate answer and would have to stop and think a bit before responding. The quickest responses would undoubtedly come from those who simply do not like insects at all. The most common positive answer, I suspect, might well be a Monarch Butterfly.

Many readers know that I see lots of beautiful dragonflies and butterflies, but my favorite insect is almost certainly the Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum), like this one that I photographed on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I remember my sense of awe and amazement the first time that I spotted one—I couldn’t believe my own eyes, because the combination of colors seemed so bright and almost unreal. When I initially posted a photo of the Handsome Meadow Katydid, one of my friends thought that I had added the colors in Photoshop.

To this day, I never fail to marvel at a Handsome Meadow Katydid’s spectacular rainbow colors and incredible blue eyes and am always thrilled to discover again their amazing beauty when I am fortunate enough to find one.

Handsome Meadow Katydid

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The biological clocks of some species seem to be ticking as the summer winds down, compelling them into frantically mating sessions, like this pair of Halloween Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis eponina) that I spotted this past weekend at Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, Maryland. The challenge in photographing this type of activity is to present it in a way that is artistic rather than purely sexual.

halloween pennant

halloween pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Whenever I see bees buzzing around flowers, I keep an eye out for hummingbird moths. For some unknown reason, I have seen more of these colorful moths this summer than in past years.

Although you could argue about whether or not thistles are flowers, my vigilance was rewarded when I spotted this beautiful Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) feeding on this thistle bloom on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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As summer begins to wind down for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, some of the dragonfly species in our area are starting to disappear. Fortunately, though, some new species appear late in the season to take their places, like this Russet-tipped Clubtail dragonfly (Stylurus plagiatus) that I spotted yesterday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Unlike many of the dragonflies that I see regularly that seem to prefer pole-like perches or perch flat on the ground, Russet-tipped Clubtails like to hang from the leaves of vegetation either at an angle, as this one is doing, or vertically. I was pretty excited to find this dragonfly, because I have seen a member of this species only once before, last year at a different location, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge.

Russet-tipped Clubtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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