jayellebee's Blog

August 4, 2013

Breakfast on the Fly

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 9:03 pm
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Ken and I were pretty strict parents. Just ask any one of our boys – all now in their 30s – about the family policy on PG13 movies. More than two decades later, the oldest son still harbors a grudge about not being allowed to see the blockbuster, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” JessicaMy concerns had to do with the seductively portrayed and attired femme fatale, Jessica, but he’ll tell you I feared there was just too darn much animation.

Anyhow, now that the only “child” under our roof has four legs and a tail, Ken and I have relaxed. A lot. Not only do we enjoy spoiling Shadow, we actually go out of our way to find new and interesting places to take her for walks That’s how we ended up in an area only a few miles from home that we hadn’t explored before.

The short walk from where we parked to the trailhead led past two properties with no shortage of garden art. I’m guessing at least one of the residents also has no shortage of time on his or her hands. Take a peek at these fun metal sculptures:
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There was a dragonfly, too. The body (or should I say fuselage?) was a good ten feet long. The wingspan must have been closer to twelve feet. A terrific blend of art and imagination.

So, that was yesterday. This morning, as the sun warmed the granite boulders in our front yard, the surrounding soil gave birth to a cloud of flying insects. Termites, perhaps? We didn’t get a chance to investigate.

A squadron of bright orange dragonflies converged on the swarm. The dragonflies here are larger than those I was accustomed to seeing in the Bay Area, with wings comparable in length to those of a hummingbird. Of course, their bodies are much more aerodynamic.

At least a dozen of the voracious predators put on an air show to rival the Blue Angels. Over the next fifteen minutes they swooped and dived, soared and dipped, devouring their breakfast on the fly. As I concentrated on watching a specific insect rising from the ground, a dragonfly would appear within seconds and swallow it whole. Without even pausing to down shift.

blog pix 169 I tried to capture the frenzy in this photo, but my little point-and-shoot isn’t equipped to do the attack justice. Click on this picture to enlarge it, Then play “Where’s Waldo?” The two blurred smudges above the boulders are the raiders caught in the act.

Not once did I see a dragonfly make a pit stop during the attack, and the whizzing wings made no sound. The original silent but deadly? They flew full-out until the abundance of bugs declined. Then the dragonflies peeled off, one-by-one, to parts unknown. Within a minute of the final insect assent, every last double pair of gossamer wings had departed. They arrived at the final link in that particular food chain and moved on.

I Googled Dragonflies. They are not picky eaters, consuming 15% of their own body weight daily. dragonflyThe menu includes most any flying bug you can think of, including other dragonflies, moths, nymphs, bees…. Their wings are phenomenal, allowing them to hover and even fly backwards! Boeing engineers, take note.

Pixar and Disney should consider creating a film script about dragonflies. But, I might have to discourage my sons from seeing the movie if there’s too much violence.


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