Dragonfly Summer: Halloween Pennant & Common Pondhawk

All along the water’s edge many dragonflies hover like tiny helicopters. I stopped on the path to watch a bright red one circle overhead, hoping it might rest for a moment so I could take its picture. Instead it flew right up to my face and I had to wonder what it was seeing and thinking.

the beginning of autumn
decided
by the red dragonfly
– Shirao

Now that the heat index routinely exceeds 100, one can only hope.

The Halloween Pennant is apparently a pretty common dragonfly but new to me. The orange and brown wings are unmistakable. Up close, the veins on the wings look a lot like cheesecloth.

halloween pennant
Halloween Pennant

This Common Pondhawk kept doing something odd with his eyes that made his green face flash.

common pondhawk
Common Pondhawk, male

Here’s a picture of his lover showing how her grass green colour provides great camouflage. I really hoped she would pose in a better place but it was not meant to be.

common pondhawk female
Common Pondhawk, female

Have you had any dragonfly visitations?

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34 thoughts on “Dragonfly Summer: Halloween Pennant & Common Pondhawk

  1. Now I’m really confused; are damselflies just female (dragon) flies? We have many, many tiny periwinkle ( ) flies here that land on your arm at the lake and stay there for quite a while. One can also see them mating, and they are the same color. They are quite beautiful, and I always feel honored to have one land on me. I’ve always thought of them as damselflies because they are smaller than other dragonflies I see.

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    1. I love them all. I think they are exquisitely beautiful. I’ve never had one land on my arm though. That is lovely! They are separate kinds of insects. This is how I first started telling them apart: damsels are usually more delicate looking and fold their wings when they land; dragonflies are usually more ‘robust’ ;) and leave their wings spread out.

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  2. Beautiful dragonflies! I see them regularly spinning about but they rarely land long enough for me to get a good picture, though I managed a couple today. I second and third those wishes for summer to be over. :( We haven’t yet hit 100 — a miracle in itself — but the heat index is pure misery.

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    1. Thanks! The pennants aren’t called that for nothing: they like to attach themselves to things and pose like flags. They are pretty easy to photograph. That red dragonfly though? Impossible. I don’t think it ever rests. I have gone out several times now and frequently see him (or his double) flying at top speed. Taunting me. One of these days red dragonfly! You WILL be mine. (evil and slightly desperate laugh)

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  3. Lovely shots. The Halloween Pennant is amazing, I have never seen anything like it. I have had quite a few Damsel flies and Dragon flies round the pond and I am gradually learning their names since I had a blog.

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    1. Thanks, Chloris. I love watching their movements. Darting here and there. And they seem to come in every colour imaginable.

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  4. yes just like cheesecloth and looking forward to the season of the dragonfly while deep in a winter of frosts white and icy morning after morning – oh that is when it isnt raining…

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  5. We have loads of dragonflies and damselflies throughout the gardens and pond….I have never seen a Halloween Pennant here though…what a beauty!

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    1. It was a real treat to spot it. I am always surprised to hear when an insect is supposedly yet I have gone my whole life not seeing one. heh

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  6. I had never heard of the Halloween Pennant. I think you have got yourself an excellent photo of him. I am kind of jealous that you have three photos of dragonflies. I’m having a terrible time finding any insects other than bees. Made a special trip to a park a couple of days ago that has three small ponds each with cattails and lotus flowers at one end. I figure for sure I’d find a dragonfly or two, or more. Saw one buzz by me and that was it. Did get some nice photos of a mother duck and her six ducklings. I thought I knew what I was doing but it seems this summer I am looking for bugs in all the wrong places.

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    1. My photos are never quite there: either a focus problem or exposure or well you name it. It would probably help if I used a tripod but how a person can do that when taking photos on the fly eludes me. Mostly I take pictures of things just because I love them or to help me identify them later if I don’t know what they are. Dragonflies are often used by biologists as indicators of water quality. If you are seeing few to none at this time of year then that water quality is probably very very poor.

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  7. Smashing photos–I don’t know how you get such good shots. I don’t know that Halloween Pennant either–I’ve never seen it. The Common Pondhawks are around my place too. I’m with TexDeb–I’m so ready for summer to be done. It’s only July 22….

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    1. Thanks, Tina. I hate to whine about it — especially since I know the bad part of summer is only beginning — but yeah. This year the heat feels really intense. The heat index for today is forecast to be 108! yipes.

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  8. Boy I hope your red dragonfly is pulling Autumn in behind him. I’m rarely in any hurry for summer to close shop but for some reason this year I feel ready to move on. It could simply be that I did not get Spring things done in the garden and I’m wishing for Fall so I could get things off that really old, I’m so tired of looking at it, list.

    These are such great shots. Dragonflies drive me a bit nutso whenever I try to photograph them. Either they are great posers, keeping completely still, or more commonly, they flit and dart around in ways that far surpass my skill set or patience levels. I’m loving these – especially that Halloween Pennant (which I don’t recall seeing before, either and I grew up here).

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    1. Thanks, Deb. It really is turning out to be a hot summer. It is hard to get motivated to do anything outside. Lately I’ve taken to going swimming just to get some relief.

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