When I last visited Farmington Bay WMA, I found flights of Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies on the wing and resting, near and on Goose Egg Island.
Dragonfly groups are typically referred to as ‘swarms,’ but I prefer to call them ‘flights’ to avoid any negative connotations. That is my own personal preference.
Male Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly at Farmington Bay WMA – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Most of the Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies that I found and photographed were males. They appeared to be competing for the best perches to catch airborne insects.
Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly in front of rabbitbrush – Nikon D500, f9, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
At times, these Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies would land in the rabbitbrush, but when they did, parts of the dragonflies were hidden from my view. When they landed on dead stems on the outside of the rabbitbrush, I had clear views.
Male Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly resting – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
By now, most of you who regularly read what I say here on my site know I adore dragonflies because they eat the biting insects that seem to favor me and my blood. I am highly allergic to some of those insect bites and grateful that the flights of dragonflies mean fewer of them to attack me.
Male Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly head on – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies are known for their unique coloration, with their wings and body featuring a combination of red, brown, and yellow hues. They are also incredibly skilled hunters, with studies showing that adult dragonflies catch more than 95% of their targeted prey. While there is no specific information on how many insects Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies can catch in an hour, it is known that dragonflies, in general, are voracious predators capable of eating hundreds of insects each day.
I admire dragonflies for their beauty, their jewel-like colors and seemingly effortless flight. There are times I wish that I was small enough to ride on the back of the dragonflies I photograph. What a magical and wild experience that would be!
Life is good.
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Autor Mia McPherson