Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dragonfly Weekend

I love late summer up north. The biting bugs are down (usually, although mosquitoes have been especially fierce this year), nights are in the 40s and days are in the low 80s. Pretty much perfect weather!

Dragonflies are also moving about in large numbers and, maybe due to this year's bumper crop of skeeters, there seem to be more than usual this season.

I just returned from five glorious days of being off the grid. Lots of time to fish, observe critters and catch up on reading.

There were Meadowhawks all around. Researching Meadowhawks is enough to give one a migraine, unless you simply go with the flow of: They're nearly impossible to tell apart unless they're in hand and you have a magnifying glass. So, in favor of that approach (and 2 hours of research later) here are a couple favorite photos:

I'm guessing this one (above) is a male White-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum obtrusum) based on the amber base at the wings, its stark white face and the white mark on its thorax.

This one, which could amazingly be the same species, I think might actually be a Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum) based on the amber veins in the leading edge of the wings.

My last two favorite dragonflies were buggers to get photos of, but the most graceful fliers I've seen. I've learned by looking at other people's photos that they're both in the Darner family. The bright green and magenta one was a Common Green Darner (absolutely beautiful) and I'm pretty sure this one is a Variable Darner (Aeshna interrupta):

I've no idea what it's holding in its front legs, but it looks like a snowball to me  :-)   (maybe a spider egg sack?)  Both the Green Darner and the Variable Darner of one of the few migratory dragonflies.

If anyone has insights on the species IDs, please let me know!

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