While I was out photographing last Sunday at Wild River State Park I was surprised to see a clubtail dragonfly perch on a stick on the side of the trail. Wild River is one of my most reliable places to see clubtail dragonflies but usually that is in May and June. Most clubtails over winter in one of the later nymph instar phases so they typically emerge early in the year. This is the first time that I spotted one in October.
Fortunately I had my net with me in case I came across any darner dragonflies, they fly later in the year, and I was able to catch the dragon. When I got back to my car I checked in my Dragonflies of the NorthWoods book by Kurt Mead and found that there was only one clubtail listed that was known to fly into October in Minnesota and that was the elusive clubtail. This made the job of identifying the dragon quite easy, but the black on the upper part of the face and the pattern of top spots and side spots also fit. The elusive club typically perches on the tops of trees so I was fortunate that this late season specimen was down where I could photograph and net him. This was my first elusive clubtail.