dragonflies are hard to sneak up on.

A coworker recently told me that there were a ton of dragonflies at the pond and that I might be able to get some good pictures even with my tiny point-and-shoot camera.  I went and checked it out over the weekend, and while there were indeed a ton of dragonflies (and as an added bonus I flushed a woodcock on the bank), I was not able to get any good photos with my camera.  I had been naïvely thinking, all I have to do is wait for one to perch somewhere where I can get at it, creep up on it, and snap the picture, just like I did with that snipe fly.  Well, let me tell you something: it’s impossible to sneak up on a dragonfly.

This is the best I managed to do.  I believe it’s a Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Libellula pulchella.  There were also Eastern Pondhawks (excellent name for a dragonfly)… and… a lot of other species I couldn’t identify.  I’m only just starting to dip my toe into the wide world of butterflies, odonates and the like.

Happily, there were plenty of things to distract me from the frustratingly skittish dragonflies, like this little guy I found lurking next to my foot.  Probably a toad, but I find it hard to tell when they’re this tiny.  He’s lucky I didn’t crush him accidentally – he was only a couple centimeters long!

There was also this striking red-and-blue insect hanging around on the daisies, which made for nice pictures.

I thought it was some sort of fly, and decided to post the photo on the BugGuide site to see if anyone could tell me anything more specific.  Well, within about five minutes two different people had replied telling me that 1) it was a bee, not a fly, and 2) I needed to crop my image more before posting it.  Um… oops.  I sheepishly fixed the image, feeling kind of humiliated.  Finally someone else came along and told me it’s a sweat bee in the genus Sphecodes.  Isn’t it pretty?

Anyway, summer camp training starts this afternoon, so I probably won’t have time to post anything else until the weekend.  Have a great rest-of-the-week!

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