Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dragonflying at Tortilla Creek

One of the places we like to dragonfly in Arizona is Tortilla Creek, in the little tourist town of Tortilla Flat.  The town consists of a few small "cowboy"-type businesses along the road.  Here's a picture of the town:

Most of the visitors to Tortilla Flat are probably not even aware of the small creek, Tortilla Creek, just across the street from the town.  Here's a view of the creek:

Everywhere you look when you visit Tortilla Creek you see incredible desert vistas, like the one below.

Dragonflies are out and flying at Tortilla Creek, though not nearly in the numbers that will be seen in about a month.  Even so, we had some good views of Common Green Darners, Flame Skimmers, Roseate Skimmers, Blue Dashers, and a Mexican Forktail.

The Flame Skimmers seemed particularly vibrant.  Here's one that landed right in front of us:

Notice the intense red colors in the wings, including the dark rectangular concentrations (opacities) near the wing bases – an important way to distinguish the Flame Skimmer from the similar Neon Skimmer.  I also like the yellow cross veins near the leading edges of the wings, and the contrast they make with the red colors elsewhere.

A Blue Dasher landed near us, and offered an unusual rear view:

Later, it turned around to give us some more common perspectives:

One other dragonfly gave us some nice close views – a male Roseate Skimmer.  It looked quite young and fresh, with lovely colors, and fairly clean wings.  Here are a few looks at it:

What a treat!

Tortilla Creek may not be well known, and it may be overlooked because of the tourist attractions across the road, but it's a nice place to view birds and dragonflies.

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