Thursday, July 18, 2019

Halloween Pennants and their enemies

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.

Halloween Pennant - Celithemis eponina 02-20190325

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:

Halloween Pennant 20160823

Halloween Pennant HDR 20160524

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:

Green Heron immature stalking 01-20190710

Green Heron immature stalking 02-20190710

Green Heron immature stalking 03-20190710

Green Heron immature stalking 04-20190710

This dragonfly lays its eggs in the water amid floating vegetation in our lakes and canals. Here is a pair of Halloween Pennants copulating:

Halloween Pennants 20121006

Grackles are especially fond of these creatures, as are many other birds. A female Boat-tailed Grackle chases after the dragonfly:

Boat-tailed Grackle female and dragonflies 20190420

She rushes over to feed the prize to her hungry fledgling:

Boat-tailed Grackle female and dragonflies 3-20190420

Boat-tailed Grackle female and dragonflies 4-20190420

Boat-tailed Grackle female and dragonflies 5-20190420

This Cattle Egret was capturing and eating Halloween Pennants:

Cattle Egret hunting Halloween Pennants 20130322

Cattle Egret hunting Halloween Pennants 4-20130322

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:

Kestrel eating dragonfly 20101210

Spiders catch many Halloween Pennants:

Dragonfly and spider 04-20140323

The wrapping proceeds 2-20150325

Loggerhead Shrikes also partake in the feast:

Loggerhead Shrike with Halloween Pennant 20181204

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: 

Dragonfly Face 20090416

Dragonfly RedEye 20090416

Halloween Pennant face 20150607

Looking at our world with a wider lens, this is the canal which separates our populated subdivision from the Wounded Wetlands:

Looking south at canal 01-20190630

A quiet corner of the canal is a favored place for the dragonflies to deposit their eggs...

Quiet corner of canal 20190630

...and where this adult Green Heron pursues them:

Green Heron 03-20190331

Green Heron 01-20190331

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy

Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James

Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia
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Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display
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28 comments:

  1. awwwwwwwwwwww they only get a couple days as dragons...and are prey to everything out there. I'm so sad now.

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  2. What a great set of photos, lots of action and the macros are fabulous. Have a good day Diane

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  3. I know it's nature but I hate to see a butterfly become dinner.

    Worth a Thousand Words

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  4. Interesting story unfolding throughout the food chain - and that sky is incredible!

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  5. Fantastic. Your passion is umatched

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  6. Outstanding macro shots! You just don't realize how much a dragon fly can add to the local food chain until you really start to look closely.

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  7. Interesting post. Dragonflies are successful hunters, but I did not realize they are also prey. It is a tough natural world.

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  8. Wonderful photos. My grandmother always called dragonflies, "snake doctors". Seeing them always reminds me of her.

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  9. WOW! Image after image is fabulous. Great to have captured so many different birds eating the Dagonflies but those close up shots are incredible Kenneth. The landscape shots are stunning with the reflections also. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

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  10. @Michelle-- Funny, my grandmother from Ireland called them "Darning Needles" and she frightened me by saying that if I say and nasty words they will sew my mouth closed. I think I believed her!

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  11. Halloween Pennants are present here in southern Ontario, but are not as numerous as where you are. Dragonflies of all species are the favoured food of American Kestrels when they are abundant, as they are now.

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  12. Hello, I always enjoy seeing the Green Herons, great captures. The dragonfly images are all awesome. Cute shots of the Grackles. The Egrets are beautiful. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend.

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  13. Beautiful photos.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  14. We think we have just had a new crop of dragonflies! We saw lots of them in the Spring and now you can't walk without one running into you! Love the close ups and the beautiful view of the canal! Thanks for sharing the beauty that surrounds you!

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  15. What a wonderful looking critter. Your photos are simply stunning.
    It's great to have them attracting such a great variety of visitors!

    My Corner of the World

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  16. Wow! Your insect photos are amazing!

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  17. What a beautiful dragonfly - and its head with the big eyes is remarkable! Awesome shots, Ken! Sorry it is so wanted by other animals:( Your post for All Seasons gives us so much to learn!Thank you for your kind comment about the house - we bought for "the view" we have when standing at the windows in the image, and enough land to build a large barn (studio). Am envious at your mango trees - 3000 feet maybe too high of an altitude. Have a great week:)

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  18. We just saw some beautiful dragon flies in New York. Unfortunately, I didn't get very good photos of them because every time they would perch themselves on a leave they would close their wings. Ugh!

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  19. Stunning wild life photos. This dragonfly is so beautiful.

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  20. The dragonflies are gorgeous creatures; they must be tasty delicacies for the birds. I can't help but feel sorry for the dragonflies.

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  21. Amazing close-ups! I enjoyed your narrative, too, and learned a lot about dragonflies. Thank you.

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  22. Those dragonflies are so beautiful that it's almost sad to see them eaten! But then of course, the birds are also beautiful!
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/07/save-gato.html

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  23. Absolutely fantastic photos! I love being able to see these pretty insects up close. Such pretty birds too!

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  24. Great Macro Pic of Pennant dragonflies.
    Good captured of birds and photographer.

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