Saturday, June 2, 2012

Two More Ode Days

One thing I love about Ode hunting with the kiddos... extra eyes. The biggest perk, of course, is seeing their eyes light up as we catch and learn about odes.

But the extra eyes are great to have.  The Boyo came with me on the 1st to ring in June, and we headed to our favorite Ode haunt, Quarry Hill.  As soon as we walked up to the lake, we knew it would be a good day.  Dragonflies zooming all over the place.  Over the lake, over the trail, over the weeds.  Man it was awesome.

Right off the bat we saw Black Saddlebags, Twelve-spotted Skimmers, Common Green Darners, Dot-tailed Whitefaces, and a whole mess of others.

These Common Whitetails were zipping around, and I finally got a shot of one as it briefly landed on a stick, looking for other threats.

I was standing stock still, trying to catch anything that was flying. But they were so quick, they eluded me.  The Boyo moved ahead a little bit and called me over to take a look at something he had found. This kid not only has sharp eyes, but he even told me he thought it was a teneral, or very young ode, because of how the wings looked. 

But he was right, it was very young.  I set the net over it, and it hardly argued as I picked it up to get pictures of it.

I knew right away it was probably a clubtail.  I mean, look at that tail!  As one of the MOSPer's says, ode names are easy to remember, because they describe the ode most of the time.

I brought my ID books this time, but left them in the car, so I once again resorted to taking as many good pictures as I could to help me ID it later.

In this case, I wondered if it was a Horned Clubtail or a Pronghorn Clubtail, as those are on our county list.  But it didn't appear to have the little horns on the head or the tail to make it either of those.

Meanwhile, I kept seeing a beautiful blue and green dragonfly zooming around.  It was too small to be a Common Green Darner (which are anything but common when you see one shining in the sun as it flies), and it was VERY wary.  It would not let me get close enough to net or get a good shot of it.

I finally got these two shots, good enough to let me ID it later as an Eastern Pondhawk.  Pretty little odes.

I also wanted to get better shots of a couple of odes we found back on the 29th of May. I had submitted them along with the Boyo's Rainbow Bluet to Odonata Central. But while the Rainbow Bluet was confirmed (the second County Record for the Boyo), the other two were "pending", which I took to mean that I had ID'd them incorrectly.

Fortunately I was able to find both of them again and net them for even more pictures.
This one...
I needed better shots of the cerci, or tail parts, to differentiate. 
I thought it was a Spiny Baskettail because the wings didn't have spots like the Common Baskettails do. Turns out it is a Common Baskettail, and that 10% of the Common Baskettails don't have spots.  Apparently the population of Common Baskettails at Quarry Hill are genetically predisposed not to have the spots! 

After I got a bunch of shots, I handed it to the Boyo to hold until it wanted to fly away. He held it on the end of his finger, and after scuttling around a little, it settled into a comfortable position and there they sat, chatting with each other for the next ten minutes.  It was quite charming.

And this one...

which I was pretty sure was a Familiar Bluet, was not even close.

I got more close-ups of the tail section, and narrowed it down to either a Marsh Bluet, or a Hagen's Bluet. With some help from the friendly MOSPer's, my pictures were confirmed as a Hagen's Bluet.

I submitted them both again to the Odonata Central website and they were confirmed. The Common Baskettail and the Hagen's Bluet are County Records!

I posted the pictures of the clubtail to Facebook for some help on ID'ing after over an hour of pouring over my ID books.  I think I was just too tired to compute after a while, because other MOSPer's ID'd it right away as a Midlands Clubtail.  If that is confirmed, then the Boyo will have his third County Record!  We're both pretty excited about that.

This morning I headed back to Quarry Hill around 7AM to see if I could find any emerging odes. It was a beautiful morning.

I didn't see anything emerging, but I did find a few newly emerged odes.
Some didn't want to have their pictures taken, so they either flew away or just hid behind a grass stem...

"I am not an ode. I am simply part of this grass."

But I did get some to pose for me.

Eastern Forktail female, very orange and young...

Quite a few newly minted Dot-tailed Whitefaces...

easy enough to just pick up and say hello to.

And a new Widow Skimmer male.  Hiding in the grass...

He's the first Widow Skimmer I've seen this season. I'm starting a list of all of the odes we've seen out at Quarry Hill and Foster Arends.  It ought to be quite a list!

I do love odonates. Finding, photographing, learning all I can. And I love that the kiddos are in it up to their armpits, too.

More Later

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