Love Dragonflies… Hate Mosquitoes

I wrote a post on dragonflies that I’d seen recently at the old quarry in Corfe Mullen and now here I am in the Florida Keys thousands of miles away doing exactly the same thing. These insects fascinate me. Not sure why but maybe it’s because they are so bolshy and inquisitive.

Red Saddlebag Dragonfly

Red Saddlebag Dragonfly – the backwings are partly filled in

We arrived on Monday after staying overnight in Miami. I hate Miami, it seems dirty, unfriendly and dangerous and we can’t wait to pick the hire car up and scidaddle down to the sleepy Keys as soon as we can. Once out of Miami (and the 6 lane carriageway) we start to relax.

Mysterious insect

One of the werid and wonderful flies or wasps?

The Florida Keys are a hundred miles of islands jutting out from the southernmost tip of Florida with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other connected by bridges and Highway 1. The first island is Key Largo (of Bogart/Bacall film-fame) and the last is Key West (famous for it’s long ago residents Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams).

Butterfly

Soldier Butterfly – Danaus eresimus

Base camp for us is Conch Key which is about half way down and about a 2 hour drive from Miami. Yesterday, while hubby Andrew was out fishing, I decided to visit one of my local “wildlife” haunts at Long Key State Park on our next-door island.

Dragonfly

Another Dragonfly!

I’ve never seen very many dragonflies in the Keys before but as soon as I pulled up at the State Park car park they were everywhere. That really should have rung bells “lots of dragonflies… what are they eating?” No, I didn’t think that, just thought “ooooo lots of dragonflies wooo hoo”. Anyway, I started off on the nature trail (not another car or person in sight) and within a hundred metres I’d spotted at least ten dragonflies.

Dragonfly

Yep! Another one

The Trail takes about an hour to walk (2 hours if you stop at nearly every tree and bush to take pictures!) and it wasn’t long before I realised why I was (1) alone and (2) surrounded by dragonflies. MOSQUITOES. Like a real trooper I carried on, squishing mozzies on my arms and legs as I went. Have you ever tried taking a photo and killing a mozzie on your elbow and on your neck at the same time (not easy!).

The Beach

The beach – rest from the mozzies

Anyway, I managed to make it round the trail through the mangroves and sat on the beach at the end to eat my sandwich.

The numbers of insects were quite amazing. Half just wouldn’t stay still enough for me to photograph (I’ll get them don’t worry!). Stunning butterflies as big as your hand, bees as big as your thumb, wasps, hoverflies…. Lets just hope the dragonflies eat most of the mozzies before my next visit.

mangrove-skippers-phocides-pigmalion

Mating Mangrove Skipper Butterflies

I was rewarded for my perseverance, no-one said wildlife watching was always “fun” and “easy”. To be honest I thought I’d got away with the mozzie bites. I was wrong. Today my arms look like puffy red blotchy tree trunks and itch like the very devil. I may be imagining this but I’m sure this dragonfly below has a smile on it’s face!

Green Dragonfly

Great Pondhawk – Well… I had to finish with a dragonfly didn’t I

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~ by Jane on November 6, 2008.

8 Responses to “Love Dragonflies… Hate Mosquitoes”

  1. Nice photos! I too dislike Miami…we should have researdched it before we moved south! Alas, there are other things to do outside of Miami! OH yeah, I wanted to say you should go by the Fruit and Spice Park in Redlands if you are going to come up to the ‘glades again. Worth the trip, IMO.

  2. Thanks Misti. It’s great to be here again. Glad I’m not the only one with that view of Miami. I will check out the Fruit and Spice Park… sounds interesting! Jane

  3. Ooo – Florida sounds very appealing on a dull, rainy November day, and your photos are gorgeous! REALLY don’t fancy the mozzies though, so I suppose I’ll stay here. 😦

  4. I loved your collection so much I put a few on my own page. thanks!

  5. The beautiful insects make up for the horrible “biting” ones! I must admit it’s good to get a bit of “warmth” I’m just worried now about coming home, cos it’s going to seem even colder! Jane

  6. Thanks boyofbow13. Glad my jumbled collection gave you some inspiration to add some dragons to your blog. Great collection! Jane

  7. The last one really looks like he/she has had a rough night! Great pics as always – lovely empty beach. Guess you didn’t have any competition for the mozzies’ lunch.

  8. Hi Hilly. No I guess that is why I got eaten… no competition!! I wondered why there was noone around… Jane

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