Saturday, June 27, 2009

A surfeit of dragonflies

Yes, this really is a photo of something, which you can see if you click it to enlarge -- i have uploaded the biggest version! -- but sometimes a photo just is NOT adequate.

We're experiencing this delightful and sort of baffling phenomenon. A dragonfly population explosion.

This was taken at about 2 o'clock this afternoon, prime dragonfly time. The air is so busy with them that it is very likely that the shot contains more than 20, though my beloved but basic camera turns the more distant ones into specks. Go outside and you are surrounded, but at ground level, they just don't show in a photo against the foliage, which is why I aimed at the sky.

To stand outside is to stand in a wonderland, like a very busy metropolitan hover-port in a futuristic animation. They are various colors, also not discernible in the sky picture. They land on everything. They land on you. They weave and crisscross and gorge themselves on gnats and mosquitoes, and chase each other, lacing the air with their paths, thousands of them.

It's been very rainy and possibly the mosquito population has also exploded, providing the dragonflies an exceptional buffet. I dunno. But there are ten times more dragonflies out there than I have ever seen at one time, in my life.


Sherwood Harrington said...

How peculiar and how cool. There are some insects of the east coast that I miss a lot -- cicadas, for example, and, yes, dragonflies. There are dragonflies out here, but not in the numbers of the east. Another kind I miss a lot are fireflies and their glowworms.

ronnie said...

How wonderful!

My personal phobia is flying insects (inherited from my mother from behavioural modeling). Yet I have always had a very high tolerance for dragonflies and butterflies.

(I remember taking our nieces to the Butterfly House at a local greenhouse. I had to psych myself up for it, because part of the experience is that thay land on you, telling Husband that "I will not squash a butterfly in front of the children, I will not, I will not." And I didn't.)

Dragonflies are so beautiful and so other-worldly. I don't know how I'd stand one landing on me, but I'm 90% certain I would contain myself to gently shake it off, rather than scream and assault it with a ham-fist, so beautiful are they.

Lucky you!

Christy said...

Wonderful! Can't wait to show my daughter tomorrow!

Mike said...

... and they eat mosquitoes, bless their hearts!

As for Sherwood's comment, I remember a trip to Indiana when eldest, Colorado-raised son was about five. We were sitting in the backyard of a friend, drinking beer and talking past sunset while our same-age kids played in the gathering gloom. Suddenly my son yelled "What was THAT??" It never occurred to me that he had never seen a firefly before. (The Adirondacks, where we visited my folks each summer, are too cool for them.)

Soon the yard was full of them, to his delight. It was definitely worth keeping him away from them until he was old enough to be so absolutely stunned.