Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Under Studied Much?


The Wife worked a night shift last night, so to keep the house quiet so she could sleep, I took the kiddos out for a little dragonfly hunt after picking the Boyo up from school. I didn't expect to find much, since last week was all frosty. But we've had a run of a few days of temperatures in the 80's, and I had seen a couple of Odes buzzing about yet.

So we headed out on a trail that runs next to the river that goes through town and found a lovely, grassy spot on the flood plain to do some searching.

Lots of bugs, but few dragonflies. The ones we saw were distant, the sun glistening off their wings. No more than two or three in the sky, though.

Then one cruised right over us and settled into some weeds. We stalked it and it took off and flew to another weed clump farther on. We stalked it again with the same results. On the third stalk I was able to get within 10 feet and snap a couple of shots. Only one was in focus...

I knew it was a Darner of some sort, and I knew it would be helpful to get a shot of the stripes on the side for ease of ID. But as I stepped off to get a side view, it took off into the sky and flew right down the river until it was out of sight.

I posted my find to the MOSP group on facebook after poring over my dragonfly ID book and deciding that it was perhaps a Lance-tipped Darner.

To my delight, the pros agreed with my assessment. So I've submitted it to Odonata Central. If confirmed, it will be our 8th county record for the year! What great fun!

(Update 10/7/11: It was confirmed! Woohoo!)
I hope that the kiddos still want to go dragonflying with me when the county records taper off. Well... we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Getting county records almost every time we go hunting made me think, though. Our county holds a decent sized city and lots and lots of good Odonate habitat, yet it would seem that it is pretty under studied. It is pretty common knowledge that Odonates are understudied everywhere. So if you want to contribute something to science and be a "citizen-scientist", or if you want a fun activity with your kids, or you just want to learn more about dragonflies, I implore you to head out with a camera and get some pictures.

Of course, I'll be imploring again at the start of next season. This season is coming to a close.

More Later

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