Sunday, July 5, 2009

Giff Beaton

From a Q & A with Giff Beaton, author of Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast:

Q: Can you tell us how and when you became interested in seriously watching and identifying dragonflies and damselflies? Is odonate watching becoming more and more common with birders?

A: As I became more and more interested in photography and watching birds, I started noticing other animals, like insects. As happened with birds, I started realizing how many different kinds there were. Then it became a great adventure to try to learn more about them and to try to find and photograph the different species. When I started getting interested in odonates, there were very few books to help with field identification, and of course no internet yet, so I had to dig up what few books there were. I was also fortunate to meet several very experienced dragonfly biologists and specialists, and they were crucial to learning more about this wonderful group of insects. My first photos of odonates were back in 1991, and I started trying to learn more about them around 1993, actively seeking out different habitats at different times of the year. I do think odonate watching is becoming more and more popular among birdwatchers and backyard nature enthusiasts.

Q: Are there other insects or animals that are commonly viewed by birders?

A: I think many birders are becoming more interested in many other “watchable” groups, like butterflies or moths and their caterpillars, odonates, and other showy or obvious groups of insects. Of course, wildflowers are another very popular part of nature for birders.

Q: What are some of the most common misconceptions about odonates that you've encountered?

A: Probably the biggest one is...[read on]
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--Marshal Zeringue