Monday, July 25, 2016

Butchart Gardens

A couple days ago, Betsy and I visited Butchart Gardens on the way back from our cruise to Alaska.

It's a lovely place, and the weather was perfect.  Flowers everywhere, of course.

Many darners were flying over the open grassy lawns, but no other odonates were seen for a while – until we came to the "Star Fountain," shown above.  There we saw lots of Tule Bluets, including one that liked to perch on the begonias:

Notice the almost equal-width bands of black and blue on the abdomen, with the black bands actually a bit wider than the blue ones.  The Northern and Boreal Bluets differ in having mostly blue on the abdomen, with small black rings separating them.

In addition, we saw a darner fly in and land on one of the "frogs" that shoots out streams of water.  Here it is:

It's clear that this is a female, due to its overall brownish and greenish color, and the expanded tip of the abdomen that holds the ovipositor.  Females are generally a bit more difficult to identify than males, but in this case the identification was easy.  Notice the small "bump" – or tubercle – below segment 1 of the abdomen.  Here's a better view of the bump:

The interesting thing about this bump is that it's a distinctive field mark for the female Blue-eyed Darner.  None of the other mosaic darners in our area have this bump.  It's a good field mark to look for, though it's not always as easily seen as it is in this view.

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