Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Black Meadowhawks At Barnaby Slough: Another County Record, This Time In Skagit County

It's been an unusual year for dragonflies – at least in our area.  The activity level has been low overall, and what we're seeing is often quite out of the ordinary.

For example, the activity at Cranberry Lake has been so low that I haven't given a late-season field trip there as I would have liked. Even so, we saw many American Emeralds at Cranberry Lake earlier this year, compared to just one seen there over the previous five years.  We went from almost nothing to a population just like that.

Next, I went to Thunder Lake in July and saw an incredible number of Chalk-fronted Corporals.  Before that, Betsy and I had seen a single individual at Barnaby Slough, which was a record for Skagit County.  Again, we went from almost nothing to a roaring population.

Then, about a week ago, we went to Lake Terrell in Whatcom county and found Black Meadowhawks in an area where we had never seen them before.  That was a record for Whatcom County, as detailed previously here:

A few days ago we went to Barnaby Slough.  We're checking things out, seeing the usual suspects, and then all of a sudden I spot a small, dark dragonfly landing on the walking path.  I check it with my binoculars and it's a Black Meadowhawk!  I can hardly believe it.  This time it's a county record for Skagit County.  Several more males were seen to flush from the trail and fly to a sunken pond nearby.  We haven't been looking for county records, but for some reason they've been coming to us.  As I said, this has been an unusual year for dragonflies in our area.

Here are some photos of a Black Meadowhawk at Barnaby Slough:

A male Black Meadowhawk putting on a pose for me at Barnaby Slough.

This is a relatively young individual.  It will darken with age.

Notice the bi-colored eye and the face that is dark in front and light-colored on the sides.

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