We have had a bumper crop of Halloween Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis eponina) here in south Florida. This colorful species is found in most of the eastern 2/3 of the lower 48 States. It flutters almost like a butterfly and is an important food source for many predators up the food chain.
As do other members of the Celethemis (Pennant) group, they typically perch on the top of a stalk or twig, looking like a flag or pennant:
MaryLou looked out of the back window of our home and saw this immature Green Heron next to the lake, stalking furtively through our lawn. At first I was not sure what it was doing and then realized it was catching and eating Halloween Pennants:
This dragonfly lays its eggs in the water amid floating vegetation in our lakes and canals. Here is a pair of Halloween Pennants copulating:
Grackles are especially fond of these creatures, as are many other birds. A female Boat-tailed Grackle chases after the dragonfly:
She rushes over to feed the prize to her hungry fledgling:
This Cattle Egret was capturing and eating Halloween Pennants:
To the north, the Halloween Pennant is active during the warmer months, but it is present all year round in south Florida.
Our small falcons feast on them. Merlins and American Kestrels visit us during the winter and specialize in plucking them out of the air with their talons.
Here, an American Kestrel, eats one:
Spiders catch many Halloween Pennants:
Loggerhead Shrikes also partake in the feast:
Halloween Pennants seem to have expressive faces as they turn their heads and look about. Depending upon how the light catches their compound eyes, they can look green or red or a combination of both:
Looking at our world with a wider lens, this is the canal which separates our populated subdivision from the Wounded Wetlands:
A quiet corner of the canal is a favored place for the dragonflies to deposit their eggs...
...and where this adult Green Heron pursues them:
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