Darners Because . . . I Can

Darner, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Watts Flats Wetland, NY

The objectives at Watts Flat Wildlife Management Area in western New York? Orchids, wildflowers & butterflies. 2016 has proved to be a challenging year, what with very few butterflies to be found. Every Monarch seen is cause for, well, celebration. Those Baltimore checkerspot butterflies at the Jamestown Audubon Center’s Reserve (again, western New York) were more juice to the system. Meeting bog copper butterflies at Allenburg Bog (western New York) was totally exhilarating! Those Zebra longwings in Kathleen, Georgia (south of Macon) evoked many thoughts: graceful, beautiful, poetic, languid flight, fresh, . . . .

The Watts Flat hike dished up neat wildflowers, especially Bunchberry. Then this darner was spotted. Darners trigger curiosity, wonder and awe, as they effortlessly shoot at some speed from here to there.

Waste film on this beaut, who accepted my robotic approach to within 16″ of its personal space? Sure.

A winged beauty, certainly. A winged beauty that insists that you pause, and examine its complex form & beauty.


Darner in the Florida Panhandle

Darner photographed by Jeff Zablow in Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida's Panhandle

Butterflies, yes there were quite a few! I was there to meet and photograph butterflies. My eyes and brain sometimes stray, and here they locked in on an eye-pleasing darner. Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, apparently national headquarter for Palamedes Swallowtail Butterflies, judging from the squadrons that could be seen 360 degrees around. The air space here offered room enough for bees, flies, beetles, wasps, darners, and enough winged beauty to keep me occupied for those 4 days.

To the moment I don’t know the name of this dragonfly/darner, nor do I know if it is confined to Florida, the Southeast, the East Coast or all east of the Mississippi.

I do know that it was beautiful, it tolerated some approach, and it was just one more tantalizer for Jeff in a world of wonder, sans admission fee.


Darner Dares

Darner dragonfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 6/7/07

They left way before I could see them. One type was darner huge. I could see some of them as they chose a perch a bit down the trail. Others took a turn in flight, enabling me to seem them. All of the Georgia darners a few weeks ago eluded my camera lens. Rock Hawk trails near Eatonton, Georgia was the home of beautiful, unapproachable darners.

The darner in this image was taking advantage of the early morning sunlight. Warming rays of sun that fueled its “engines” assuring that within minutes, rocket-like flight would let it capture winged insects, and elude all, including curious photographers of butterflies.

A very long time ago, I posted a blog with an image of a darner. I offered my boyhood experience of catching one in flight, with my bare hard. Never, never will I do that again. Funny, though. Their bite is past painful, yet not one of the 97,359 darners I’ve come across, have ever been aggressive to me. For that alone, I respect darners (AKA dragonflies).

Oh, qualify as ‘winged beauties?’ Big Yes on that.