Sep 23 2013

Green Darner Picnic

Published by at 7:23 am under Insects, Fish, Frogs

Common green darner dragonfly (photo by Tim Vechter)

The weather was sunny and cold a week ago when I visited Flagstaff Hill so I was surprised to see over a hundred Green Darner dragonflies patrolling in the chilly breeze.  They were having a picnic.

Each dragonfly faced the wind and hovered, then wheeled away to a new spot and hovered again.  With binoculars I could see thousands of small insects being blown uphill in the wind.  The dragonflies reached out and grabbed them. Their wings glinted orange in the sun.

Green darners migrate south in the fall so I was witnessing a “flock” that happened to stop there for an easy meal.

I don’t have a video of their amazing maneuvers but this one shows how they do it.

 

(photo by Tim Vechter)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Green Darner Picnic”

  1. Jennieon 23 Sep 2013 at 10:15 am

    Seeing their wing movements in slow motion is amazing! Who would have guessed that they’re such successful predators? Thanks, Kate.

  2. Mary Ann Pikeon 23 Sep 2013 at 12:34 pm

    How far do they migrate? And how long do they live that they would need to migrate?
    (Maybe it talks about that in the video…I haven’t watched it yet.)

  3. Kate St. Johnon 23 Sep 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Mary Ann, not all populations are migratory but those who do go to Texas and Mexico. (Green Darner dragonflies occur as far south as Panama; not sure if those are migratory.) The individuals who fly south do not come back. Their offspring are the ones we see next year.

  4. Anne Curtison 02 Oct 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Wow, Kate! And thanks! I was outside with the pup today and saw one flying back and forth between our house and the next one. (Each are only the mandatory 5′ from the property line, so 10′ total.) It is a miniature wind tunnel, and was full of teeny bugs. He or she was having a field day with them. I was so impressed I called my husband, who explained that dragonflies were, in fact, carnivores. Who knew? And then I read this. Timely!

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