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Last weekend was the 52nd annual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage at Allegany State Park. Every year I seem to get some great dragonflies and this year was no different. I had two lifers this year! The first dragonfly was a Delta-Spotted Spiketail. I found this guy on a mushroom walk when we crossed a power line clearing that had a slow stream running through it.
I lead two walks on Saturday with a combined 70 people attending. We caught tons of Common Baskettails, a Unicorn Clubtail, a 12-Spotted Skimmer, Skimming Bluets, and Rainbow Bluets.
At home I had a few Widow Skimmers emerge in the aquarium last week and yesterday I had a 12-Spotted emerge.
I have been seeing lots of damselflies this past week. So far I have seen Eastern and Fragile Forktails, Aurora Damselflies, and Skimming and Northern Bluets. Today I also saw a teneral female spreadwing, but it was too teneral to identify.
It has been a crazy couple of years here in my life. I have a new job and last week we just moved into our new house. It is located in Allegany county in New York. The house is our dream house with 30 acres in the country. It has a 1/2 acre pond and multiple streams and seeps. I am hoping that I can resurrect this blog as a place to journal my explorations of the new property.
So far for damselflies I have seen Eastern and Fragile Forktails. The Common Baskettails are thick around the pond right now and I have had several emerge in the house. I also had a Dot-Tailed Whiteface emerge in my aquarium, and our first day here I found a teneral female Ashy or Dusky Clubtail. I hope to get out with the camera soon!
I have been able to photograph some of the flora around the house. I missed seeing the Bloodroot in bloom, but it just covers sections of the woods like nothing I have seen before. I also have lots of patches of Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Swamp Saxifrage, Purple Avens, and lots lots more. I hope to compile a list over the next few years along with some nice trails to some of these hot spots.
Springtime Darner Closeup
This past weekend kicked off the ode season for me. Friday we drove down to Jamestown to meet Karen’s old Girl Scout troupe to spend the weekend camping. On the way we stopped by the Jamestown Audubon to take a walk around the ponds. It was a bit chilly and windy, but I saw my first dragonfly of the season at the first pond we saw. It was a Common Baskettail teneral that was clinging to the grass on the edge of the pond. I usually find mass emergences this weekend so it was right on schedule.
Soon after I saw my usual first damselfly, the good old Eastern Forktail. It is always a pleasure to walk the trails of the Jamestown Audubon.
We got to Camp Timbercrest later that night and enjoyed our usual Friday night pizza sandwich dinner in the pie irons. The next morning I met mon@rch at his bird banding site before we headed over to the Allenburg Bog. We only saw a few odes there, but the rest of our discoveries more than made up for it. Visit Tom’s blog to see what else we saw! Walking in the field that borders the bog property we saw a mosaic darner, most likely a Springtime Darner. At the open bog site we saw a Common Green Darner and an Aurora Damsel. This was the first time I had seen an Aurora at the bog, but this is not all that surprising since I have never been to the bog during their flight period.
After I left Tom, I headed back to Timbercrest to take the girls on an afternoon hike. Around the inlet to the camp “lake” I picked up a hitchhiker on my pant-leg, a Northern Pygmy Clubtail teneral. This was not a first for the county, but it was the first time I have ever seen one. Hopefully I will be having many more dragonfly encounters this summer!
While I have been waiting for my wife to go into labor I have been working on my records. Yesterday I finished the data sheets for the NY DEC survey, and dropped them in the mail. Today I finally got around to logging into my OdonataCentral account and start uploading records. I just finished putting in all new county/species records from 2005. I had 15 new records in 2005, but only uploaded 13 of them. The other two did not have good enough pictures to make a correct ID, but I have better pictures from 2006. Uploading your records is made very easy. Before they are accepted a biologist needs to review each record for correctness. This site is the definitive storing house for dragonfly research. You can search by counties or by species. It uses Google earth to display collection locations. Check it out and upload your records!
This unique species is the only one within its genus. It is one of the Pond Damsels, family Coenagrionidae. Some other genus in the family include the bluets, dancers, forktails, and red damsels. Most people would look at this damselfly and think that it was a bluet. If you take a closer look through, you will see that there are a few differences. For one, when the damsel is at rest it will hold its wings apart like a spreadwing would. Also unlike any bluet, it has a patch of yellow on the lower sides of the thorax. Males have blue sides on the thorax with a lower yellow patch. Males also have segments 8 & 9 almost completely blue. In females and juvenile males the blue is typically replaced with a light brown or gray, but a blue form female does exist.
If you would like to find one, you should search in vegetation around calm water at streams, clean lakes, and ponds in early spring. It has also been found in bogs and fens. My early date is May 26 an the late date is June 9. I have found it at three locations, the Jamestown Audubon and the pond at the Rodger Tory Peterson Institute in Chautauqua county and locations in Allegany State Park including Red House lake (in Cattaraugus county).
This year was certainly not as productive as 2006, but it was mostly due to me. I took a new job this spring and spent the summer working through the transition. It also involved me moving from Chautauqua to Niagara county. I only visited 15 sites. Regardless of this I was still able to add 4 more dragonflies to my NY list, the Common Sanddragon, Beaverpond Baskettail, Beaverpond Clubtail, and 4-Spotted Skimmer. That brings my total count in NY up to 64.
Calopteryx maculata (Ebony Jewlwing)
Amphiagrion saucium (Eastern Red Damsel)
Argia apicalis (Blue-fronted Dancer)
Argia fumipennis violacea (Variable Dancer)
Argia tibialis (Blue-tipped Dancer)
Chromagrion conditum (Aurora Damsel)
Enallagma antennatum (Rainbow Bluet)
Enallagma ebrium (Marsh Bluet)
Enallagma geminatum (Skimming Bluet)
Enallagma signatum (Orange Bluet)
Enallagma traviatum (Slender Bluet)
Enallagma vesperum – Vesper Bluet
Ischnura posita (Fragile Forktail)
Ischnura verticalis (Eastern Forktail)
Nehalennia irene (Sedge Sprite)
Lestes inaequalis (Elegant Spreadwing)
Lestes rectangularis – Slender Spreadwing
Anax junius – Common Green Darner
Epicordulia princeps – Prince Baskettail
*Tetragoneuria canis – Beaverpond Baskettail
Epitheca (tetragoneuria) cynosura – Common Baskettail
Arigomphus villosipes (Unicorn Clubtail)
Gomphus fraternus – Midland Clubtail
Gomphus lividus (Ashy Clubtail)
*Gomphus borealis- Beaverpond Clubtail
Gomphus spicatus (Dusky Clubtail)
Stylurus spiniceps – Arrow Clubtail (Exuvia)
*Progomphus obscurus – Common Sanddragon
Celithemis elisa (Calico Pennant)
Erythemis simplicicollis (Eastern Pondhawk)
Leucorrhinia intacta (Dot-tailed Whiteface)
Libellula (Ladona) julia – Chalk-fronted Corporal
Libellula luctuosa (Widow Skimmer)
Libellula pulchella (Twelve-spotted Skimmer)
*Libellula quadrimaculata – 4 Spotted Skimmer
Perithemis tenera (Eastern Amberwing)
Plathemis lydia (Common Whitetail)
Tramea lacerata – Black Saddlebags