Monday, August 7, 2017

Man Overboard Drill and Dragonfly hunting

I took a walk over to Blueberry Hill in Ipswich. It was a bit windy out and I didn’t expect to see much. But I knew that there would be a sheltered spot on the leeward side of the hill and I might be able to find some dragons there. At the top of the hill I flushed up a darner out of the grass, which was about ankle deep after a summer’s mowing.

I watched the darner fly for a while. They are such strong fliers. I figured it would either continue hunting or land somewhere. After losing my target, I got back to my walk across the meadow topped hill. I flushed up another dragon. This is a slight irritation for me because I was right on top of it again.

After seeing four darners flying around, I figured one of them would land at some time, and I was finally rewarded. One landed about 30 yards away. Now comes the man overboard drill. On a ship, when a man goes overboard, a seaman is assigned to watch the spot where he was last seen. He does not take his eyes off that spot no matter what. He directs the ship or rescue boat over to that spot.

So, “Man Overboard!” or in this case “Dragonfly Landed!” Now keeping my eyes on the spot, I start over to where it is. I got over to the spot where I thought it was, in the meadow grass, ankle deep, but do not see a dragon. Now I have to move slower or else I’ll spook it.

And there it is! A female Lance-tipped Darner.

©2017 Steve Borichevsky

Wow, how did he into that grass like that?

I felt vindicated. I have been coming up here for years and quite often have spooked up darners that would appear out of nowhere. The reason is that these darners do not cling to longer, stalks of grass, they get themselves down into the short grass and are very well protected from the wind and from the prying eyes of the bug paparazzi.

It spooked up and went about hunting again. I went about on a my morning walk.

About an hour later I was watching another darner and I saw it go down. Man Overboard! I found it! Oh crap! Another Lance-tipped Darner. He had burried himself in the grass like the female earlier. Not only that, he found a little pocket depression so that I couldn’t get a good shot.

©2017 Steve Borichevsky

I continued on with my walk, content to leave this bug alone. I spotted another darner land about 40 yards out. I got near it and it flushed and landed about 20 yards away and I got a good look at the exact spot. I got in a good position to approach and spotted it. Another Lance-tipped Darner and she is on the shady side in a little depression, clinging onto some shore vegitation.

©2017 Steve Borichevsky©2017 Steve Borichevsky©2017 Steve Borichevsky©2017 Steve Borichevsky

I took my time as I got close. She was a real sweetheart. She didn’t care that I was shooting her and I was operating at the minimum focusing distance for the lens, which is about 8 feet. Since this is not going to be “art”, I decided to document the bug as best as I could, dealing with the tough lighting and cluttered shooting conditions. I wanted to get enough details so that I could make a positive ID when I got back in the dark room.

Satisfied that I had enough data, my stomach was telling me that I was spending too much time in the field and it wanted some lunch.

Walking back to the trail, another darner flushed up and I could tell by the way he was flying the he wanted a place to land about 30 years away at the edge of the meadow. Using the Man Overboard drill, I was able to find where he lande. Another Lance-tipped Darner.

©2017 Steve Borichevsky

Just so you don’t get the idea that I lost my artistic mojo, here is a female Blue Dasher that I shot in between Lance-tipped Darners.

©2017 Steve Borichevsky

1 comment:

Roy Norris said...

A great capture Steve.

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