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There is a great post on Urban Dragon Hunters about identifying odonates from photos. Long story short – it can be very difficult if not impossible to come up with an accurate ID based on a photo. The article also touches on the internet effect off misidentifications – where one misidentified photo leads to the misidentification of another, and so on, until everything is jumbled up. This article echos a little insert called “Identifying Meadowhawks” in Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies that makes the same points. But, alas, I feel foolish if I can’t offer some ID to accompany the photos… and so foolishly try to ID my photos when it really is impossible. So in the future you may find more identifications that only penetrate to the genus or even family level.
Except… that is… when a nice, unequivocal specimen presents itself. Here are a some shots of a band-Winged Meadowhawk, Sympetrum semicinctum. Between its diminutive size and distinctive wing coloration, there’s no mistaking this one. In Dragonflies of the North Woods, Kurt Mead notes this under the heading Similar Species: “None.”
Ok – I’m on firm ground.
These photos were taken on Saturday, July 17, in a nice field in the Allegan Forest, off 44th Street between 115th and 112th Avenues. It was a hot day and the little dragonfly was in the obelisk position – minimizing his body’s exposure to the sun.
The shot above was taken at f16 to maximize depth of field. That made the dragon’s abdomen and winds a little sharper, but also made the background a bit less creamy and a little curdled looking. However, I like the nice separation between the wings.
And lastly, one more shot of another Band Winged Meadowhawk form the same day and field (it was full of them), this one is a less dramatic pose: