Blue Dashers at Contra Loma

May 27th, 2014

After a mild and dry winter, summer has finally arrived.  I’ve been out looking for dragonflies a couple of times, but hadn’t had any luck with taking photos. There have been a few flitting about, but never enough staying in one place long enough to get some shots. It was 95F, so this trip to Contra Loma Reservoir was also a great chance to test my hot weather gear. The new vest worked well and I’m ready for vacation.

There were a few Black Saddlebags, a Flame Skimmer and some Green Darners, but only the Bluets and some Blue Dashers stayed around to photos. I had my first sighting of an 8 Spotted Skimmer, but didn’t get any good photos. Bluets are tiny damselflies and 3 or 4 species all look very similar. I hate Bluets – they are easy to get a picture of but they are not that photogenic and they hard to identify. I’m including a shot of a teneral one that was just out of reach and trio that posed nicely.



Contra Loma Fun.

October 20th, 2013

Two trips to the reservoir this weekend. Most of my previous trips had been in the morning, so I don’t know if the activity differences I’m observing are seasonal or time of day. Saturday afternoon’s trip statred slow. There was a mini swarm of a dozen dragonflies feeding 8-15 feet up. I tried tracking them, with the camera set to fire as soon as something was in focus. It almost worked. If you think bird in flight are hard, try shooting something that can do an 4G turn. I ended up with nothing to show for the effort, but it was an interesting test. I ambled over to the back side of the lake, where the reeds are thick along the bank. A Black Saddlebag surprised me perching on a twig – I’d never seen one not in flight. He bugged out before I could react. Activity was light, with none of the dragonflies interested in hovering for a shot. I did have my first local sighting of a Flame Skimmer, which obliged me by taking a brief rest.

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Flame Skimmer – Male

With not much to show for the trip in the camera (but some nice observations), I headed back and happened upon this Variegated Meadowhawk. I’m just about at my limit of photos for these common perchers, but this one was 7 feet up, so the composition offered some variety.


Variegated Meadowhawk – Female

On Sunday morning, I returned just after sunrise. The only ones up and about were the (new for me) Blue-Eyed Darners. They generally keep a patrol flight pattern, but there was just enough hovering to catch a shot.



Blue-eyed Darner – Female


Blue-eyed Darner – Male

It seemed like every time I moved to a spot, the subjects all flew away. I’m going to pay attention to what I wear to see if that makes them less cautious. Long sleeved blue/green pull over today.

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