Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekly Roundup

WARNING: Do not read unless you're curious about my life as Robley the Odonate Hunter.

Taking a cue from a friend who became interested in Odonates last year, I am trying to keep a better record of what I see and when. Every Sunday (unless something extraordinary happens), I plan on composing a weekly roundup.

I saw my first Odonate (a brand new male Fragile Forktail) on the woods path below the pavilion. I also saw my first emergence on Tuesday, quite by accident. I stuttered up the dam when I saw a snake racing so fast under a rock that I couldn't identify it. The better part of safety meant a new route, right to the area when a Springtime Darner was still warming up prior to first flight. Last year's Springtime Darner (the only one I saw emerge) began the process at noon, so it appears that their habit is to fly by mid-afternoon.

On Wednesday, I saw three Blue Corporals (just emerged) whiz by me opposite the beach, and then I came upon several Fragile Forktails (male and female) as well as two Citrine Forktails. I had forgotten just how difficult both are to photograph because of their tiny size: the fragile's length ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 inches while the Citrine runs from .8 to 1.1 inch. Either would easily fit between the first and second knuckles of my index finger. Briefly two Common Green Darners patrolled the beach, but disappeared when the Tree Swallows arrived, diving and swooping.

Cool temperatures and rain on Thursday meant all quiet at Lake Cheston, but on Friday I spied one nymph (Stream Cruiser) on a rock and by Saturday, Blue Corporals were popping out on both sides of the beach shoreline, Forktails flitted in the grasses, and one nymph swam and parked himself on a grass.

Today, again, rain and cool temperatures resulted in no sightings. Just like spring, the Odonate season is slow, but my joy is great.

Blue Corporal
Female Fragile Forktail
Male Fragile Forktail

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