As a wildlife photographer, every journey brings exciting surprises and the opportunity to capture rare and exquisite creatures through my lens. On a picturesque summer day, June 22, 2023, I embarked on a photography adventure with my talented friend, Mia McPherson, to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This trip lead us to an encounter with the elusive Halloween Pennant Dragonfly.
Spotting the Dragonfly:
Driving along the road that led to the Moody Boat Ramp, our eyes were constantly scanning the surrounding fields, eagerly searching for any signs of unique wildlife. It was on Mia’s side of the pickup truck that we first noticed a mesmerizing dragonfly gracefully perched in the tall grass. With her sharp instincts, Mia instantly recognized it as the Halloween Pennant Dragonfly, a species renowned for its distinctive appearance.
The Halloween Pennant Dragonfly:
The Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) derives its name from its vibrant and striking wings, which resemble the festive colors associated with Halloween. These magnificent insects are commonly found in North America, particularly in wetland habitats and open areas near water sources like ponds, lakes, and marshes.
Unique Traits and Behavior:
What sets the Halloween Pennant Dragonfly apart is its eye-catching wingspan and distinct markings. Males sport wings with a bold orange or yellow base, complemented by dark brown or black tips. Females, on the other hand, feature wings that are more translucent, with a hint of yellow near the body. Both genders exhibit intricate dark veins that add to their allure.
One fascinating behavior of the Halloween Pennant Dragonfly is its tendency to perch prominently on vegetation, such as tall grasses or reeds. This perching behavior allows them to survey their surroundings, search for prey, and engage in courtship displays. They are skilled hunters, feeding on small insects like mosquitoes, flies, and gnats, making them valuable allies in natural pest control.
Photographing the Halloween Pennant Dragonfly:
After safely pulling over to the side of the road, we were fortunate enough to observe the Halloween Pennant Dragonfly up close. Mia, with her expertise and keen eye, captured several stunning photographs, showcasing the dragonfly’s intricate details.
Keen to explore further, we turned around at the Moody Boat Ramp parking lot, eagerly retracing our steps to the spot where we first spotted this magnificent creature. The dragonfly seemed to welcome us back, giving me the opportunity to document its beauty in my own photographs.
Encounters with unique and captivating creatures like the Halloween Pennant Dragonfly are the essence of a wildlife photographer’s journey. The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma proved to be a haven for these marvelous insects, offering us a glimpse into their world. By sharing our photographs and experiences, we hope to inspire others to appreciate and protect the delicate balance of nature that allows such awe-inspiring creatures to thrive.
As we continue to explore the wonders of the natural world, let us remember to cherish and safeguard these fragile ecosystems, ensuring that future generations can revel in the beauty of species like the Halloween Pennant Dragonfly.
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 800 mm F11
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: June 22, 2023 (08:46 A. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f11
- Shutter speed: 1/2000
- ISO: 3200 (Auto)
- Exp. Comp.: +0.7
- Focal Length: 800 mm