Common Whitetail Dragonfly ~ Wonder Inspired Nature Study

I was pulling weeds in our small side garden two days ago and noticed a dragonfly fly by me. I notice these from time to time flying near our house. They don't usually stop, but this one did and landed in a patch of long grass right by me! 

Here is what happened next. I thought maybe this might be helpful to share how nature study often happens in our house. The process is one that is often inspired by wonder, by simply trying to learn more about what we see around us, by trying to answer our own questions. 

The dragonfly was resting and hanging on to the blade of grass. I slowly approached it and looked at it closely. Celeste happened to come outside at the same time and I showed her our new visitor. We both admired its beautiful wings. The pattern is interesting because it alternates between black and clear, showing the intricate details on the wings. 

I asked Celeste to get my easy-macro lens. The dragonfly looked like it was continuing to rest and didn't seem to mind as I got closer with my iPod and lens. 

You can really see the details of the compound eyes on the head

It was windy that day. I thought maybe this dragonfly was resting and keeping safe from the gusts of winds. Celeste thought that maybe it was dying, but I could see that the dragonfly was continuing to move its legs. 

Close up of the wings

I was curious to know what type of dragonfly it was. With a little search, I found it was a Common Whitetail dragonfly and that it was a female. The females have brown bodies instead of white. The pattern on the female wings end with black at the tips, instead of clear for the males. 

Close up of the dragonfly thorax and wings

As I was trying to identify this dragonfly, we learned some interesting facts about them. They are expert fliers and can hover like a helicopter. 

I also read about how the dragonfly symbolizes change in most cultures, especially change related to emotional and mental maturity and the understanding of the meaning of life. It's fascinating to read the cultural meaning attached to certain elements of nature. 

That was our nature study. I had noticed something while I was outside and shared my discovery with my family. I wanted to learn more about it, took photos, shared those on Instagram and Facebook, and now I wrote an entry on my blog, which does work as a nature journal too! This is wonder-inspired nature study!