Monday, July 16, 2012

Dragonflies Of Thunder Lake

On Friday the 13th a friend and I went dragonflying at Thunder Lake in the North Cascades.  It was a beautiful day, and the dragonflies were out in full force.  Here's a view from the shore of Thunder Lake.

Thunder Lake in the North Cascades.

Dragonflies were flying everywhere along the shoreline.  Just as we got there I saw a large dragonfly do two splash-dunks in the open water, followed by a spin-dry.  It may have been a Blue-eyed Darner, which was seen several times at this location.

Surprisingly, though, the most common dragonfly was the Chalk-fronted Corporal.  This is a dragonfly we've seen only once before in the North Cascades area, but at Thunder Lake they were present in numbers.  The Corporal is named for the two light-colored bars on the front surface of the thorax, which are reminiscent of a corporal insignia in the military.  Here's are a couple Chalk-fronted Corporals from Thunder Lake.

Chalk-fronted Corporal at Thunder Lake.

This Chalk-fronted Corporal enjoyed perching on this old log.

Another dragonfly that stood out at Thunder Lake was the Hudsonian Whiteface.  It does indeed have a white face, as its name suggests.  In fact, when it flies toward you its face flashes in the sunlight.  The Hudsonian also has a series of brilliant red spots along the abdomen, similar to those seen in the Calico Pennant in Virginia.  Here's one that perched fairly close to us.

Hudsonian Whiteface.  The red colors really stand out on this dragonfly, even in flight.

We also saw a dragonfly larva at Thunder Lake.  I don't get to see them that often, so it was a good opportunity for a photo.

Dragonfly larva.  Notice the "wing buds", where the wings of the adult are developing.

We saw 11 species at Thunder Lake.  Here's the species list:

Northern/Boreal Bluet
Pacific Forktail
Western Forktail
Blue-eyed Darner
Variable Darner
Chalk-fronoted Corporal
Four-spotted Skimmer
Striped Meadowhawk
Ringed Emerald
Hudsonian Whiteface
Blue Dasher

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