Sunday, 29 August 2010

Dragonfly summer

Each summer, we see an explosion (ie an above-average amount) of a given species of insect life. Sometimes, like in 1997 when the midges were abundant and aggressively seeking human blood, it's unpleasant. Other winged insects pose no nuisance, such as the cockchafer or maybug. My favourite winged insect, however - out in profusion this year - is the dragonfly.

Above: snapped in Powsin today. Below: snapped in our garden last week. The dragonfly, unchanged over 300 million years is, along with the shark, one of evolution's great designs.

Below: this one, bending its ovipositor, was snapped in our garden last week. I'm on the lookout for ones in irridescent blue-green, which are quite sublime.

Dragonflies eat mosquitos, which is another reason to like them. They do not bother humans, but delight us with their shimmering colours, transparent wings and hovering flight.

The fact that there are fewer midges (culex pipiens) than in 1997 - the last flood year when standing water abounded locally - I attribute to this year's profusion of dragonflies. These predators catch and eat midges on the wing and I salute them for it.


Marcin said...

My goodness, great macros :)

What gear do you use for that, extension tubes or something?

Or is just something the Nikkor 80-400 can do with no problems?

Or... were they THAT big?

Michael Dembinski said...

The top pic was taken with my bog-standard 18-55mm plastic zoom that comes with the old D40! The lower two were taken with my ancient 55m f3.5 macro Nikkor (set manually), also on the D40 body.

Oh - and the dragonflies were big!

Jeannie said...

I didn't know they ate mosquitos--now I like them even more!

Aphelion said...

Absolutely wonderful macros indeed! Your dragonflies seem tamer than ours, whenever I try to photograph those, they fly away...Congratulations on these impressive pictures!