Yesterday, Betsy and I went to Little Cranberry Lake here in Anacortes to do a bit of dragonflying. There was a problem, however—before we even got to the parking area we saw cars parked along the road, and the lot itself was completely occupied. It was never this crowded during "normal times."
We decided, then, to try Smiley's Bottom near the high school, which we haven't visited for several weeks. I'm glad we did, because we encountered a surprising surfeit of odes there—and four of them were new for the year.
Here they are, in the order in which we encountered them.
The first was a darner patrolling near the ditches, which we immediately recognized, even from a distance, as a Paddle-tailed Darner. So nice to see the happy-face dragonfly once again. There were lots of them. We never saw one perch; they were hovering and patrolling their territories constantly.
Here are some shots of Paddle-tailed Darners hovering:
Next, we were looking at the ditches to see if there were any meadowhawks out and about. I said this was about the time we would expect to see Striped Meadowhawks—sure enough, a minute later we spotted one on his favorite perch in the ditch. Here he is:
A few moments later, Betsy spotted a Spotted Spreadwing. This is a lovely, elegant damselfly, with wonderful blue eyes.
At this point, quite surprisingly, we had three new odes for the year. I said, wouldn't it be nice if we could get a fourth, but what would it be? Then I saw something red flashing around, interacting with a Paddle-tailed Darner. I wondered for a moment if it could be a Western Red Damsel.
Then I got a look at it when it perched—it was a meadowhawk. I checked it out with my binoculars, and was surprised to discover that it was a White-faced Meadowhawk—the first we had ever seen in Anacortes. It's a beautiful dragonfly, similar to the Striped Meadowhawk, but without stripes on the thorax, and with a chalk-white face. Here it is:
So, four new odes for the year, and a new ode for Anacortes. This is probably a good time to update the list of ode species seen in Anacortes. Here it is:
Common Green Darner
Not a bad list for our small little town.