Monday, March 30, 2015

Early-Season Report: Red-tailed Pennant

The Red-tailed Pennant is a common red dragonfly of the desert southwest.  In Arizona, where I am now, its flight season is said to begin in June.  Even so, I've been seeing them regularly in April the last couple years, and this year I saw one in my backyard just a few days ago.  It seems their early flight date should be moved up to March.

Here's a look at the Red-tailed Pennant, along with some of its more prominent field marks indicated with white text and arrows. The blue annotations indicate other features of interest.

A male Red-tailed Pennant, observed at the Gilbert Water Ranch.
Field marks for the Red-tailed Pennant.

Here's a slightly different view:

It seems a lot of animals are showing up at different times than usual these days – apparently the Red-tailed Pennant falls into that group.

The best thing about this observation is that this was the first time I've seen a Red-tailed Pennant in my backyard.  That's cool.  I hope I continue to see them!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Whisperer Spoke

Betsy and I had a great time visiting Sedona and Flagstaff.  We enjoyed the beautiful countryside, and had lots of fun meeting fellow nature lovers.

Sedona, AZ, as viewed from near our hotel.  The "coffee pot" formation is on the right.

The San Francisco peaks near Flagstaff, AZ, with a light covering of snow.

Thanks to all who attended the dragonfly presentations – your enthusiastic response and excellent questions made the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Whisperer Speaks!

Greetings Dragonfly Enthusiasts!

The Dragonfly Whisperer will be speaking again tomorrow night (March 18) in Sedona, AZ, and again on Thursday night (March 19) at Flagstaff, AZ.  Here's the ad for talks:

Here's the handout for the talk.  Feel free to download it and print it on your own printer.

I hope to see you there.  Should be a fun evening.  Be sure to come up and say "Hi."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Early Season Dragonflies 2015!

Wow.  The 2015 dragonfly season is off to a great start!  It seemed a bit slow at first, when we failed to see dragonflies in Medford, Oregon or at the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge, but it picked up big time when we got to Southern California and Arizona.

We saw our first dragonflies at the Coachella Wildlife Refuge near Palm Springs, CA on March 4.  We always stop there on our way to Arizona, and generally see Vivid Dancers and nothing else so early in the year.  This time we saw the usual damselflies, but also good numbers of Spot-winged Gliders in feeding groups of 4 to 6 at a time.  Here are some photos of the odonates we saw at Coachella:

A male Vivd Dancer at the Coachella Wildlife Preserve.  Notice the little "arrowheads" on the side of the blue bands on the abdomen.
A Spot-winged Glider taking a rare rest.

Our next view of dragonflies occurred in Arizona on March 6.  We went to the Gilbert Water Ranch, near our home in Mesa, AZ, and immediately saw lots of odonate activity.  We first saw Familiar Bluets and Rambur's Forktails, then the dragonflies started to appear.  We spotted some Red Saddlebags along the shore (in fact we saw pairs in tandem laying eggs), and then some Roseate Skimmers, a Common Green Darner, a Mexican Amberwing, and a Variegated Meadowhawk.  The activity was constant, and at a high level.

Here are a few photos of the dragonflies seen at the Gilbert Water Ranch:

A male Familiar Bluet at the Gilbert Water Ranch.
A male Mexican Amberwing (right) entices a female to lay eggs in his territory.
A male Roseate Skimmer looking fresh and bright.
A male Red Saddlebags coming in for a landing.

Here's our species list for odonates so far this season:

Familiar Bluet
Rambur's Forktail
Vivid Dancer

Common Green Darner
Roseate Skimmer
Mexican Amberwing
Variegated Meadowhawk
Red Saddlebags
Spot-winged Glider