Monday, August 11, 2008

Necedah Dragonflies and Damselflies

Well I am back from my shorebird workshop in South Dakota. I had a pretty good experience. We spotted 17 different shorebird species and I was able to identify most of them from pictures at the end of the seminar. We got up pretty close to some of the birds so I have some nice pics to post and I will also share some of the info that I learned. The biggest excitement of the weekend for me though was a burrowing owl. I have photographed burrowing owls in south western Minnesota, last year and in southern California many years ago but it is a raptor that I do not often see so I visited the field where it has been spending some time on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have a lot of pics to go through, plus I am currently still posting pics that I took in June so it might be a little while before I get them on line.

For now I have one last post from our trip to Necedah NWR in June. This time it is dragonfly and damselfly.
Damselflies are kind of like skippers in the butterfly world or sparrows in birding, they are small, hard to photograph and difficult to ID. I believe the damsel above is a citrine forktail. The citrine forktail is the only damsel in the area that is a yellowish color with spots dividing each section of the abdomen.
The next damsel appears to be a spreadwing, due to its open wing pattern while it is perched. Due to the bronze color on its thorax and the green shoulder stripe I am going to say that this is a lyre-tipped spreadwing. What is more interesting to me is that if you look closely at the head you will notice that the damsel seems to be eating a small grasshopper.
Away we go from the confusing and hard to identify damselflies to the confusing and hard to identify female meadowhawks. Female meadowhawks will often be the same color as the males, red in most cases, but they can also be a yellow color like the one above. It is very difficult to distinguish between the females of several types of meadowhawks so instead of trying I will list several types that I am pretty sure that it is not. The face is not white enough for a white face and since the legs are black it is most definitely not an autumn meadowhawk, which have yellow legs. There does not look like enough color in the wings to be a saffron so that only leaves us with about 4 or 5 other types.
This dragon is definitely a dot-tailed whiteface, which I have photographed on numerous occasions in many different locations.
Finally we have a female twelve-spotted skimmer, which is another very common dragon. You can tell that she is female because she does not have white spots on her wings. You can tell that she is not a female widow skimmer because the yellow dots on the abdomen form a straight line not a jagged line like the widows does.
Hopefully my IDs are correct but if you think I have made a mistake, except on the last 2 which I am sure about, then please leave a comment and let me know. That is one of the ways in which I continue to learn.


Leedra said...

Love this post, but you know this is my first year with the dragonflies. I am trying to absorb as much info as I can.

Leedra said...

Oh, I forgot, the photos are excellent!

Doug Taron said...

Hey, great blog and photos. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Your spreadwing damselfly is tough (female Lestes are that way). Because of the thoracic stripe color, I'm suspecting emerald spreadwing (Lestes dryas) rather than lyre-tipped. But I wouldn't want to bet the mortgage on that.