Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy-Face Makes A House Call

A couple days ago we had a hard rain overnight, but the clouds began to part a bit the next morning.  Betsy went out into the backyard to feed the birds.  A few minutes later she was tapping on my office window.

"Come take a look," she said, pointing toward the deck.

"What is it?" I asked.

"There's a darner perched out here."

"There is? Which one is it?"

"I think it's a Happy-face," she said.

I quickly got up and looked out, and sure enough, there was a Happy-face Darner just outside my office window.  Here are a couple photos.  See if you can spot the darner in the first photo before you look at the next ones.

Our deck after an all night rain.  Can you spot our visitor?

Here's a closer look at our house guest:

The Happy-face Darner rests on one of the posts of our deck.  You can see droplets and small puddles of water from the recent rain.
A closer look at our visitor.  He's an older individual, with worn and tattered wings.  Also, notice the drops of water clinging to his body from the rain.

It was fun to have one of our favorite animals come to visit in our backyard.  We sometimes see a darner patrolling along the cliff during the summer, and I had been pretty sure they were Happy-face Darners, but this was the first time I had seen one perched.

Here's a closer look at this friendly little guy:

There's Mr. Happy-face.  Still smiling, though sitting in the shade and covered with raindrops.

The sun was starting to burn through the clouds, but our friend had perched on the shaded side of the post, and was still covered in raindrops.  He was starting to lose his grip, so I lifted him up and placed him on top of the deck rail.  Here he would get what sun could manage to break through the clouds.  He seems to be enjoying his new perch.

A better place to wait for the sun.

He still has some raindrops on his face, but he's starting to dry out and warm up.  In the next photo you can look deep into his eyes.

Look deep into my eyes.

You can also see the individual ommatidia in his compound eyes.  They are hexagonal close-packed, just like a honeycomb.

The individual eyes of his large compound eye form a honeycomb lattice.

Eventually the sun came out a bit, and he dried off and warmed up.  Here, he's scratching his head, and enjoying the improved day.  Soon he whirled his wings to warm up his flight muscles, then he took off for parts unknown.  Such a fun visit while it lasted.  I'm so lucky to have a visitor like this come right to me as I work in my office!

Toggle back and forth between these last two photos to see him scratching his head.

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