Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sun Mountain Lodge

Betsy and I just got back from a few days at Sun Mountain Lodge.  It's one of our favorite places to visit.

The views from the grounds of the lodge are spectacular:

Just down the hill from the lodge is Beaver Pond, a wonderful place to enjoy nature.  Here's what it looks like at the pond:

This is the view from the footbridge at one end of the pond.  The trail that goes around the pond is lined with ponderosa pines.

The odonate activity at the pond was lively, as usual.  Paddle-tailed Darners, the familiar Happy-face Dragonfly, were seen flying back and forth over the pond constantly.  Here's a shot of one in flight:

This shot shows the two, side-by-side, paddle-shaped upper appendages at the tip of the abdomen – which overlap in this view, giving the impression of a single paddle.  The fact that there are two paddles is indicated by the two downward-pointing spines, one on each paddle.  You can also see the blue spots on the last (10th) segment of the abdomen, as well as the prominent eyebrow on the eye.  Notice as well that the front two legs are tucked up behind the eyes, in their usual flight position.

We also saw many damselflies at Beaver Pond, including this lovely Northern Spreadwing:

In addition, we encountered many Boreal Bluets, like this male perched on a leaf:

We had hoped to see some Northern Bluets, which are virtually identical to the Boreal Bluet, but all we looked at carefully turned out to be the Boreal Bluet.  It seems the two species generally don't mix, but tend have their own separate territories.

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