I first saw an Eastern Pondhawk in New Jersey, while doing my informal photographic Big Day in conjunction with the World Series of Birding (see my Google+ post). It was a female and I immediately decided it was my new favorite dragonfly. I have caught two glimpses of a female here in Maine, both at Roger’s Pond. One landed at my feet last week, but I could not get the camera on it before it was driven off by the very aggressive Blue Dashers patrolling the shore.
This fellow was on the other side of the pond a few days later, and it was not until I got the images home and had my books out that I realized that it is the male Eastern Pondhawk. Very different! And certainly beautiful in its own way, if more subtle than the female. (Further research has shown that this is an immature male, which complicates the picture. The full adult male would lack the aqua shading, though it would retain the green face.)
In flight, and in good light, the apple-green face is very striking, though the dragon needs to be perched to appreciate the subtle slide from aqua to salty blue on the body.
As I say, the female, which I finally caught in camera a few days ago, is very different. I was actually on my scooter circling the pond when I saw her on a reed. I was off the scooter and camera in hand as fast as I could go. Even so, I had only seconds to get on her before the Blue Dashers drove her away again, and I never got as close as I would have liked. Still.
Together, the Eastern Pondhawks are one of the more interesting pairings. If you saw them mating, or otherwise together in the same frame, you might suspect they were two different species. It apparently works for them though
(It appears that both Male and Female Eastern Pondhawks are actually green. Even males start out green. The blue on the male is a waxy, powdery coating, called pruinosity, which develops on a lot of dragonflies as they mature, covering the true colors underneath.)
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. All at 1680mm equivalent (using the 2x digital tel-converter function). f5.8 @ 1/200th @ ISO 125 (male), and 1/1000th @ ISO 400 (female).
Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.