Quest For A Golden Dragon

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Natural Treasures” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The morning sun is already started to burn hot as I enter the marsh. I have heard a tale that somewhere in the maze of cattails lives a golden dragon who guards a jewel of great value. The crisp aromas of water mint fills the humid air. Rustling noises on the other side of the thick mat of leaves tells me that the birds are on the hunt. Silvery flashes dart through the water as I make my way towards the goal. Something moves just outside of my field of vision. I turned around but saw nothing. There’s a buzzing sound with a rattling that sounds a little like paper caught in a fan. I moved slowly in the direction of the noise and it moved away. I paused to give the sound a chance to settle. When the sound of papery wings ceased I gently moved the foliage aside and searched the lush green leaves underneath. And there I saw the legend was true. A golden dragon rested on a leaf guarding diamond sphere. I marveled at the shiny body and gossamer wings. Unlike the questing knights of tales told long ago I came not a sword and lance but a lens to capture my quarry. This tiny dragon breathes no fire. No smoke encircled it’s lair. The sun will soon reclaim it’s guarded treasure but it’s legend is forever preserved in my lens.

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Capturing A Dragon ( An eight year quest)

My grandfather had some unique names for what is commonly called a dragonfly. Usually he called it a “Snakedoctor”. Irregardless of the name insects of the order Odonata are notoriously hard to catch. I have purposefully trekked out to lakes and ponds just to find these but as soon as I raise the camera they move. I have a whole string of blurry images of dragonflies and damselflies that could just as easily be a Sasquatch picture.

But here is the first one that is actually in focus! Even on the cool morning that I found this one it took several tries to get a good shot. The order’s name odonata literally means flying tooth. From the moment they hatch these things devour mosquitoes! They are a great control method for the little bloodsucking pests that will not poison the food chain. The one here is of the most common type but there are brightly colored ones here too. Greens and blues are also common. They’re like flying gemstones around our bodies of water. If I can catch one staying still for long enough to get the right picture it will be published in color.

I still haven’t figured out why the old-timers call them Snakedoctors ( and sometimes Witchdoctors) but I’m always taken back to my childhood summers when I see one.