Saturday, July 3, 2010


click on photos to enlarge
There was no sense putting the canoe on any of the big lakes around here.  The jet ski's, ski boats and ocean liners would kill me for sure.  I elected for a paddle on Indian Boundary Lake.  No motors allowed there.  I calculated the tourist visitation would be heavy but, I needed to be on water in the canoe.  Canoes are addictive.
I was surprised to see so few tourists in the campground.  Four kayaks were on the lake and two boats with their motors raised out of the water were running with their electric motors.  "I can deal with that,"  I thought to myself.
The paddle along the left side of the lake was great and the water was smooth as silk.  A gentle breeze would riffle the surface occasionally but, not a big inconvenience.  Actually, the breeze was welcome.
Dragonflies were everywhere.  There was one species I haven't seen before.  He's above and below in the next two shots.  I have tried to find him in my insect field guide but can not.
This dragonfly alighted onto the stem of thick grass.  His wings are folded forward almost over his head.  I've not seen one sit in this position before.  Don't forget that you can click on the shot to enlarge it.

I backed the canoe into some thick grass and waited for more photo opportunities.
 The red dragonfly below is a Half Banded Topper.
These Half Banded Topper's are stealthy.  They are silent in flight and are capable of starting and stopping so fast they seem to evaporate from sight.
The next dragonfly is a Twelve Spot Skimmer.  I only saw this one dragonfly.  I made an effort to view more but could find none.  It's a beauty but the photo shot was a difficult one to get.  Animals and insects just don't cooperate at all.
 The most common dragonfly of the day is the Swift Long-Winged Skimmer.  They were everywhere.  Last year on this lake they were as thick as mosquitoes.  They are a beautiful fly indeed and very interesting to watch.  Dragonflies hover like helicopters or rocket straight up in the air like a missile.    Sideways flight is not a problem.  I wonder how they do that.   A series of shots depicting the Swift Long-Winged Skimmer follows:

Notice the tiny white rectangles on the leading edge of the wings.  This denotes a dragonfly of the Skimmer family.  Depending on the wing color;  the rectangles can be white, black or red.
Again;  in the shot above, note the white wing markings on the leading edge of the wing.  This dragonfly is in flight.  Shutter speed of 1/13,000 of a second.
Below is another Half Banded Topper.  The wing tip markings are black.
Below, in the next two shots;  the Twelve Spot Skimmer is making his approach toward a stem of grass in preparation for a landing.  Immediately below is the approach followed by the successful landing.
A Swift Long-Winged Skimmer blasts past a small water island of mud and grass below.
As fast as the Blue Skimmer disappeared;  a Half Banded Topper did a fly by over the same miniature island.
OK;  I know what you are thinking;  "Whats wrong with this guy?  Who the heck would travel way up to a mountain lake miles and miles from home, launch a canoe and paddle to the end of the lake,  sit in the canoe parked on dead brown grass and photograph dragonflies?"  The answer is easy.  It's called growing to an age where superficial toys and things become mundane and boring.   It's the been there, done that syndrome.  Nature is the heart of our existence.  Yet it receives little attention from the majority of the citizens of this country unless;  there are dollars that can be made with it or, dollars lost over it.  The oil spill has heightened the nations awareness of nature and ecology.  Why?  Because it's costing people jobs, tons of money and livelihoods of many fishermen and negatively impacting related industries.  The city people like white sandy beaches and TV shows about killer sharks.  But, put a price on an ecological loss and the interest soars.  Too bad the dollar can have such an impact even in the natural world;  a world that has existed perfectly, by itself for eternity without human influence.  Nope,  can't let it be cause there's a buck can be made on it.  I better get off this topic.  It's a sensitive issue to me.  But anyway;  there's an old saying that the best things in life are free.  Natural things are there for all of us.  All we have to do is look.  But, don't forget to see.  That's what I'm doing.  I'm seeing.  I appreciate what I'm seeing.  And;  I'm thankful it's there for me to see.  You may want to look and "see"  also.  The natural world is being chipped away, like our Constitution.   I'm afraid "it"  won't be there much longer.  Oh well;
The sun is hot and I better paddle this thing back to the truck.  The noisy tourist voices are getting louder.  They're crowded upon the sandy beach that has been made for their enjoyment.  The call of a Mockingbird and the staccato sounds of a Pileated Woodpecker are drowned out by the screaming and yelling of the multitudes.  I gotta paddle faster.