For at least three days, he visited our yard.
He swooped over our fish pond and swimming pool and returned each time to perch on a tomato stake in the vegetable garden.
We nicknamed him "Big Red." Big Red? Actually, a flame skimmer dragonfly (Libellula saturata), native to western North America.
Our presence never bothered him. Our excitement at seeing him never bothered him. My macro lens poked a couple of inches from his face never bothered him.
I captured his image from above (bird's eye view), from the sides (both sides now!) and from beneath (bug's eye view).
It was only when I popped a barbell-like ring flash on the 105 macro lens that he stirred. Whoops! That was a bit big. He lazily took off and then returned--with a native bee in his mouth.
One day Big Red sat on his perch for three hours, periodically leaving to snag insects, then methodically returning to eat them.
On the fourth day, he disappeared. We haven't seen him since.
I suspect Big Red proved to be an easy catch for a hungry bluejay.
Author - Communications specialist
Flame skimmer perched on a bamboo stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Flame skimmer outlined against the sky. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of flamer skimmer with native bee in his mouth. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)