Monday, August 4, 2014

Dragonflying In Anacortes

Betsy and I spent some time after lunch today dragonflying at Cranberry Lake and Smiley's Bottom.  Pretty good activity at both locations.

The main species we saw today are summarized in the photo below:

Clockwise from upper left: Paddle-tailed Darner, Variegated Meadowhawk, Striped Meadowhawk (female), Red-veined Meadowhawk, Eight-spotted Skimmer, Four-spotted Skimmer, Spotted Spreadwing, Blue-eyed Darner.

We saw a fair amount of splash-dunking and spin-drying at Cranberry Lake.  As soon as we got there, a Blue-eyed Darner did 4 splash-dunks, before performing a very visible spin-dry.  After that a Four-spotted Skimmer did 3 splash-dunks and a spin-dry.  Later, we saw an Eight-spotted Skimmer do a series of 3 events in rapid succession, each consisting of one splash-dunk followed by one spin-dry.  Other Eight-spotted Skimmers were observed to splash-dunk as well.  This made the lake quite active today both in terms of the number of splash-dunks observed (8), and the number of species doing the splash-dunks (3).

We saw many Red-veined Meadowhawks at Smiley's Bottom.  So far, this is the only location where we've observed these dragonflies, but they are there in numbers every year.

This was also out first observation of the Paddle-tailed Darner for this year.  It was great to see our old friend again, patrolling the ditches, protecting territories and searching for females.

Paddle-tailed Darner (male) hovering over his territory in a ditch at Smiley's Bottom.

The were constantly hovering, giving time to observe their yellowish thorax stripes, blue spots on S10, paddle-shaped appendages, and of course, the happy face smiling back at you.

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