Friday, June 8, 2018

Heart Lake

I went to Heart Lake in Anacortes a couple days ago, and the dragonfly activity was at a high level—dragonflies everywhere, with lots of egg-laying behavior on display. There were also some newcomers for the year, including the Cardinal Meadowhawk and the Eight-spotted Skimmer.

Here's a Cardinal Meadowhawk perched near the egg-laying area:

This guy's is looking up, checking out his surroundings. Notice that his abdomen is broad and flat, as is typical of this species. Here's another individual on his favorite leaf:

You can just barely see one of the white spots on the side of the thorax, one of the field marks for this species. Also, notice that the abdomen is fringed with yellow, indicating this is a young male. The abdomen starts off yellow, and turns bright red with age. This individual is just at the end of this transition.

Most of the egg laying was being done by the Cardinal Meadowhawks. Here is a couple dipping into the water to deposit a small mass of eggs:

This is a frame capture from a video, and in the video itself you can see the egg mass dropped off by the female, which then slowly sinks to the bottom.  Sometimes there were a couple pairs laying eggs at the same time:

Another common species along the shore was the Dot-tailed Whiteface. A number of pairs were seen in the wheel position, though I didn't see any egg laying. Here's a male perched on the ground:

This was also the first day I've seen the Eight-spotted Skimmer in Anacortes. Here's a young male on his favorite perch in the bushes:

It's clear this is a male from the white spots in the wings. Notice, however, that it's a young male because the abdomen still looks like the abdomen of a female, with straight yellow side stripes. As it matures, the abdomen will turn a lovely pruinose blue.

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