Summer Solstice at Tingley Ponds

Here it is the longest day of the year already, perfect for a morning at Tingley Ponds in search of dragonflies and damselflies, but with entertainment provided by some good birds too.  Got a little crazy with the camera today, taking 125 pictures in just a couple of hours, which is way more than I usually shoot, but did get a few good ones.  Here are just a couple of the dragonfly pictures from the morning, the first a female Flame Skimmer.  Not much difference between males and females, but the male tends to be a brighter orange color.

Flame Skimmer (female)

Flame Skimmer (female)

Next up, a female Widow Skimmer

Widow Skimmer (female)

Widow Skimmer (female)

The male has the same dark ‘saddlebags,’ but with white on the wings and a dusty blue abdomen, like the fellow below.

Widow Skimmer (male)

Widow Skimmer (male)

At one point in the morning, I noticed a Canada Goose leading her two little ones to the pond, which for some reason greatly upset a couple of them that were out on the island in the middle of the pond.  Well, at least it greatly upset the one on the right here, apparently trying to talk the other one into joining in on tossing the strangers out.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

Lots of flapping, honking and other display behavior, but shortly the two of them headed off in a rush to confront the new visitors.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

Once things returned to a normal level of peace and quiet there on the pond, I spotted a juvenile Green Heron stalking and successfully capturing lunch, apparently some kind of large grasshopper.

Green Heron (juvenile)

Green Heron (juvenile)

Unlike their usual mad dash to get as far away from people as possible, this one stayed around and let me take quite a few pictures before I finally snuck quietly away.  Here’s probably the best portrait shot I got.  Have to laugh at that pose with one leg discreetly in front of the other kind of like those contestants on the Miss America show the other night.

Green Heron (juvenile)

Green Heron (juvenile)

Since I was in the area and have a pass, I decided to stop in on the PNM Butterfly Pavilion in the Botanic Garden again.  Uh oh, more reasons to take a lot more pictures, since there were several new species since my last visit.  My favorite today was this tiny little Atala Hairstreak, a couple of which were just resting in the leaves pretty much unnoticed by all the other visitors this morning.

Atala Hairstreak

Atala Hairstreak

Another new one for me was the Giant Swallowtail, a huge (for a butterfly) butterfly.

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail

Also present this morning was a Common Buckeye, which I’d seen earlier this year on my trip to Big Bend, Texas in April.

Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye

All in all, a productive day and a great way to kick off the longest day of 2011.

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About joeschelling

Birding, butterflies, nature photography, and travel blog from right here in Albuquerque New Mexico.
This entry was posted in Birding, Butterfly, Dragonflies. Bookmark the permalink.

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