Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Blue-faced Meadowhawk Dragonfly

The blue-faced meadowhawk dragonfly, Sympetrum ambiguum. 
I was walking in a field at Higbee Beach near Cape May New Jersey one day last week. The place was hopping with little red dragonflies like the one in the photo; it's only about an inch and a half long. There were so many that it seemed like it would be easy to sneak up on one and snap a close-up, but, no matter how stealthy I was, every one of them flew away when I came within three feet.

Click on the photo to take a closer look at the blue-faced meadowhawk. It has a blue-green face, tan and gray thorax, and tan legs. Females and younger males have brown abdomens. Mature males, like the individual pictured,  have flashy black-banded red abdomens.

I felt distinctly earthbound and drab as I watched him in the bright October sun where, as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote of another dragonfly almost 200 years ago, "Thro' crofts and pastures wet with dew, A living flash of light he flew."

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