Great Blue Skimmer–male
Cape May is famous for its incredible birding, but also for their varieties of butterflies and dragonflies. These aerial predators with their monster-like eyes and machine-like thoraxes can fly in any direction and will aggressively defend their territories. When I miss a shot, I’ve learned to wait because the dragonfly often returns to its favorite perch. Their names are as fascinating as their behavior.
Eastern Pondhawk, female
Dragonflies will consume mosquitoes, and other flying insects, but we also observed them being eaten by the migrating Kestrels and Peregrines. There must be a lot of meat on those huge bugs!
The Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies by Stokes has a great step-by-step approach to ID if you’re interested in getting your feet wet with this hobby. I also need to thank Nick Block from Bucknell University for checking and correcting my ID–thanks, Nick!