Damselflies And Dragonflies: A Walk Along Lake Irena In Hazle Township

Damselflies And Dragonflies: A Walk Along Lake Irena In Hazle Township

Macro (35 of 40)
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With the onset of Summer, and the warmer temperatures, one finds an increase in one of my favorite insects here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the damselflies and dragonflies. They can be seen darting, hovering or perching on branches, rocks or just about anything near a source of water. 

Last Thursday I took my macro lens and hiked along the shores of Lake Irena in Community Park. Located only about a mile from my home I have been visiting this park and lake since I was a child. It was mostly sunny, warm  with  a few cumulus clouds floating  in clear blue skies.  It didn’t take long to find the damselflies and dragonflies.  They were everywhere, and their numbers will continue to increase with the warmer weather. 

I have learned there are 27 species of dragonflies and damselflies in Pennsylvania. The highlighted words are a link to a website that identifies them. I tried to identify a few of the ones I saw on my hike  for this blog post. But, like bird identification,  it is difficult and takes time. Unfortunately, something I don’t have a lot of. . Please correct me if I am wrong. I believe this dragonfly is a male widow skimmer. 

And this damselfly, they have narrower bodies, is a  stream bluet. Identification of this delicate and beautiful insect could take considerable study. 

So I will just share the photos I took and make some observations on my walk.  I walked along the shore of the lake and saw many different dragonflies darting about. Eventually they tire and rest on a branch,

a rock

or a lily pad on the water. They are easily scared and dart off when approached. However, if you are patient, they usually return to their resting place. 

As I walked along the shore, I found this fellow enjoying a fellow member of its species for lunch.

It was devouring a smaller damselfly, leaving only the wings. 

And I found this pair doing what dragonflies , and all critters do, to make new dragonflies. 

Once they mate,  the female damselflies and dragonflies  lay her eggs in the water where they young nymphs will remain for most of their lives. almost four years. The are voracious eaters and even feed on other nymphs. In the spring the mature nymphs emerge from the water and transform into adults with their delicate wings. I found this discarded nymph body on a pickerelweed leaf.

The nymph emerges from its old skin and expands it wings. I have seen many who have  just emerged and watched as they dried their wings in the sun. 

The smaller and more delicate damselflies stay closer to the plants growing along the waters but are just as aggressive to each other over territory as their larger cousins. 

 I was fascinated by these ancient and exotic creatures, who flew in our skies here in Pennsylvania before the dinosaurs roamed they earth. Some grew over a two foot long wingspans!   

I walked around the lake three time, close to a mile a lap, and saw and heard many frogs jumping into the waters of the lake but i couldn’t photograph any. I did manage to get a photo of this cormorant sitting in the sun.

There was also a flock of Canada geese, the  young goslings now almost as large as their parents.

And this grasshopper also posed for a photograph.

I found this bitter bolete mushroom growing along the trail.Soon mushroom season will be here! 

And the water lilies on the lake were starting to bloom. 

The mountain laurel in the woodlands surrounding the lake were fading already, 

and the sheep laurel were blooming, reminding me that the Summer  won’t last forever. It seems every year the progression of the flowers and plants, and the  maturing of the young insects, birds and animals just keeps going quicker.

It seems like yesterday when  I walked around a frozen lake. And before you know it, it will be frozen again. The circle of life moves on. But I will enjoy everyday of the warm weather and search for the many wonders of nature that surround us. Here  is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of the damselflies and dragonflies I saw on my hike. Community Park macro hike June 25 2020

“I love to see the sunshine on the wings of the Dragonflies… there is magic in it.”
― Ama H.Vanniarachchy

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