Come Fly With Me

Dragonfly Glamour ShotsThe dragonflies were a welcomed sight at my daughter’s house near Wilmington NC last weekend.

Each day they eat hundreds of insects each as they patrol her yard on a hot August day.

Unfortunately, they did not snag the one mosquito who carried Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus to my daughter’s four year old horse, not so long ago moved down from South Dakota.

The horse didn’t make it. The dragonflies carry on, and I can only think that, as bad as West Nile and so many other mosquito-borne diseases have become, they’d be even worse without the eco-services of the dragonflies.

Too bad the bats are not able to help so much with this task as they once did. We sure could use them in the game.

CAPTION: the Lumix LX7 has a disappointing 3x optical zoom, but the 7x digital zoom used to take this shot of a small coastal dragonfly perched on the wisteria arbor is pretty impressive for its clarity and freedom from the usual shortcomings of digital magnification. Click to enlarge.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Hi Fred,

    I am sorry about Holli’s horse. This is just heartbreaking. It is difficult to lose our animal family members.

    On a brighter note, it seems if we suddenly have a lot of bats. For years, I never saw a one and now if I am on the pier after dark, hundreds will be swooping around over the marsh. They are such a welcome sight as are the dragonflies. I am surprised at the reappearance of the bats with all of the construction going on around here. My little paradise is going the wayside all in the name of “Progress” so whenever I find something like the bats that have adapted, it delights me.