Friday, July 21, 2017

Beaver Pond

Yesterday, Betsy and I drove over the mountains to Beaver Pond in Winthrop, WA for an afternoon of birding and dragonflying. We had a wonderful time—as usual—and even saw a moose at Rainy Pass on the way there.

Here's the location of Beaver Pond:

You park at the Chickadee Trailhead.

This is one of our favorite spots to visit each year. In fact, it's the location of one of my favorite photos of myself, which Betsy took along the shore of the pond! You can see some of the pond, the countryside, and a ponderosa pine in the background. BTW—The dragonfly on my finger is a Happy-face Dragonfly, aka Paddle-tailed Darner.

We saw lots of activity there. Here's a link to our eBird report:

One of the first dragonflies we saw there was a beautiful Four-spotted Skimmer. It was so fresh and vibrant—much more colorful that you usually expect when thinking of this dragonfly.

We saw them mating—and you have to look quick to see it! They stay in the wheel position for only a couple seconds, and then the female immediately starts dipping and laying eggs. The male hovers overhead to guard her from intruders, which are usually other male Four-spotted Skimmers, but in this case also included male Paddle-tailed Darners. Why they were harassing the female skimmer I don't know.

Here's our list of odonates for the day:

Damselflies -- Northern/Boreal Bluet, Pacific Forktail, Northern Spreadwing

Dragonflies -- Blue-eyed Darner, Paddle-tailed Darner, Four-spotted Skimmer, Crimson-ringed Whiteface, Striped Meadowhawk

We also saw lots of fish jumping clear out of the water, apparently going after the damselflies that were skimming along just above the surface of the pond.

I hadn't expected to see splash-dunking and spin-drying, but was pleasantly surprised to see the behavior right from the moment we got there. Here's a list of the splash-dunk events we saw, in the order in which they occurred:


We were watching this activity from the footbridge, and so many of the spin-drys occurred at eye level.

All in all, quite an interesting day.

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