Halloween Pennant

10 August, 2014        Halloween Pennant

I just couldn’t resist that great name. That’s the actual name of a dragonfly I photographed this week – it’s called a “Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina).” Have a look:

"Halloween Pennant" - great looking name for a great looking insect. Open freshwater mussel shell in the background.

“Halloween Pennant” – great name for a great looking insect. Open freshwater mussel shell in the background.

I was most interested in “Pennant” – I’d never heard that before. When I googled it, I read that  “…this dragonfly gets its name…when it is perched on the very tip of a stalk of grass and is blown about by even the slightest wind.” Just like a pennant! Just like in the picture I was fortunate enough to take. Very interesting. Other broad categories of dragonflies are called skimmers, hawkers, darters, darners, chasers and more, largely based on a frequent behavior of the dragonflies in each category. “Pennant” – it wasn’t intuitive. But when you see the picture I took – on my first try – it’s easy to see where the name comes from.

 

The “Halloween” part of the name I suppose comes from the coloring. Very autumnal even though it’s still mid-summer. All that bright orange and brown. The “Pennant” part also I suppose comes from the fact that they’re more still water insects than flowing water. I took this picture on the edge of one of the two ponds at West Creek Business Park. Not near the river where I do most of my photography.

 

I wasn’t at West Creek to photograph dragonflies that day – I wasn’t even there to take pictures. I was there riding my bicycle and I’d seen the first killdeers of the year running around the edge of the lake. The pictures I’m embarrassed to say were awful; here’s the best one:

Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus

Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus

Notice the second half of the scientific (“binomial”) name? “Vociferus“? There is no such thing as a quiet killdeer. Even their common name (“killdeer”) is because of the sound they make.

I promise there will be better killdeer pictures soon. They’re charming birds and quite attractive. It’s funny that I was trying to get the killdeers and although I missed them I ended up with a new dragonfly. Another thing that surprised me right there – right on the edge of that lake – were large mussel shells scattered all along the shoreline. They don’t photograph particularly well (in my opinion) but here’s one for an idea:

Freshwater mussel - some lucky raccoon has been dining on seafood

Freshwater mussel – some lucky raccoon has been dining on seafood

Flowers in August are getting few and far between but the ones left are showy. A few yards from the killdeers and the mussel and perhaps directly underneath the Halloween Pennant was this puffy white flower with a bee inside:

The FIRST flower with a bee inside I photographed today

The FIRST flower with a bee inside I photographed today

According to the time stamp on my camera I took that at 11:13 AM on Thursday at  West Creek. That afternoon I went hiking at Pony Pasture – 10 miles east of West Creek – with a buddy of mine. Flowers were blooming next to the water there. On the next picture it’s the same day and the time stamp says 3:51 PM. Look at this flower with a bee inside:

The SECOND flower picture I took with a bee inside - the same day.

The SECOND flower with a bee inside – the same day.

Everybody’s stocking up.

 

On my way to the Y, I stopped in a neighborhood near me to photograph these yuccas. Always elegant:

Beautiful. And very, very tough.

Beautiful. And very, very tough.

Speaking of elegant, Evie bought this plant in a much more bedraggled condition several years ago for ninety-nine cents. She nursed it back to health and it looks graceful on our mantle with the morning sun lighting it up:

Delicate and lovely

Delicate and lovely

 When the sun is shining in our living room window, Mackey (the black dog) and Turner tend to lie around. They also do that when the sun is not shining in our living room window. I think they’re just saving their energy for Pony Pasture:

Slackers. I'm sorry, there's just no other word to describe them.

Slackers. I’m sorry, there’s just no other word to describe them.

Mackey and Turner get far too much attention. But they’re dogs; that’s just the way they are. I have a cat as well, “Dash.” He lies around too, but he’s not a slacker. Look at this guy – he lies around with personality:

See what I mean? Dash lies around actively.

See what I mean? Dash lies around actively.

Not a huge post this week. I hope your week is a great one and I look forward to seeing you here again (hopefully!) next Sunday. Until then, 

Jay

PS A picture I took at Pony Pasture one morning this week:

Always peaceful

Always peaceful

 

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
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2 Responses to Halloween Pennant

  1. Katie Phalen says:

    The flowers with bees inside are hibiscus. They are probably two different varieties or subspecies of H. palustris aka rose mallow or swamp mallow.

  2. Thank you! I always think the flowers are gone when the days get hot and long. Then these big showy ones appear and I get them mixed up. They sure are fun to take pictures of though! Thanks for the clarification,

    Jay

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