Libellula (lat), Libelle (germ.) sounds much nicer as the English dragonfly as it invokes a fire-spewing monster or a nerving, buzzing pest in one word. Well this one here, is a Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) that belongs to the group of the king skimmers perched up on a stick, either warming up or waiting for prey.
Even though we don’t have standing water on our property, where the nymphs are living, molting and growing to finally emerge out of the water and transform for a last time into a dragonfly, they are pretty numerous this year. They are actually nice cohabitants to have as they normally prey after mosquitoes and other small insects. Due to late rain and quite a high humidity, we sure have enough of the little stingers around, so I hope the dragonflies will be doing their homework.
By the way this is a young adult, where the thorax and abdomen haven’t turned to steel blue yet. Juveniles are still spotting the yellow sides with brown stripes, as females often do, before their body turns brown. But this youngster is already showing the white (male) characteristics after the basal black on his wings.
A quick guide to take pictures of these graceful beings are early morning hours, when they are still warming up for the day to come, some may even have a little dew on their wings. Just be patient, sometimes it’s worth waiting and following a dragonfly till it sits down and then they can become approachable. Spend several minutes watching how they fly around, as they often follow the same pattern over and over. This applies also, if you would like to try to catch a dragonfly in flight. Patience is the key word here.
If you are interested in following dragonflies or damselflies odonatacentral.com is a great site to identify and name these fliers.