Monday, July 23, 2012

A Trip To Fobes

Last Saturday, Betsy and I went to Fobes to do some dragonflying and birdwatching.  Haven't heard of Fobes?  It's a small "town" near Snohomish that is little more than an intersection where five roads meet.  I lived there as a kid, on a seven acre farm.  The old farmhouse is shown below:

Our house in Fobes.  I walked across the street to go to school.

When I was young, Fobes was defined by a small four-room schoolhouse – one room for kindergarten, and three other rooms with two grades each – plus a small grocery store across the road from the school.  The grocery store was the front half of someone's home, but it was big enough to supply the snack needs of the school kids.

One of the five roads that meet in Fobes leads down to the Snohomish River.  That's where we go to view wildlife, along a dike that helps to prevent flooding.  Here's a view of the river from the dike:

The Snohomish River on its way to Puget Sound.

It was wonderful day, with temperatures in the 70s.  Lots of birds and dragonflies, too.  Betsy spotted an Eastern Kingbird, and soon saw that it had a nest and was feeding young.  The nestlings were still covered in down, and were begging to be fed.  Eastern Kingbirds like to feed on flying insects, and much of their diet at this location turns out to be dragonflies.  There were certainly enough to support a growing family of kingbirds.

Young Eastern Kingbirds anticipate a meal – which will probably be a dragonfly or damselfly.

An adult at the nest.

Lots of dragonflies were escaping the various predators and going about their lives.  Here's our species list for the day:

Northern/Boreal Bluet
Tule Bluet
Pacific Forktail
Common Green Darner
Blue-eyed Darner
Four-spotted Skimmer
Eight-spotted Skimmer
Cardinal Meadowhawk
Blue Dasher

The Pacific Forktail is a particularly friendly damselfly.  It likes to land on people, and gives plenty of good photo opportunities.  The male has an interesting face that is black on top and brilliant green below.

Male Pacific Forktail, a friendly damselfly.

The female can take on different forms, as is so common in damselflies.  An andromorphic female looks almost the same as a male.  On the other hand, heteromorphic females have a distinctly different look, as illustrated by the immature female shown below:

An immature, heteromorphic female Pacific Forktail.

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