Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A few neat dragons

This has NOT been a great trip for dragonflies. The last two days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it's been in the high 40's, windy, and rainy. Flying bugs hate those conditions, and I've seen very few dragonflies and zero butterflies the past few days.

But, last Monday I spent several hours in Seney National Wildlife Refuge, and even though it was cool, windy and not particularly sunny there, either, I did see a number of dragons.

The number of Chalk-fronted Corporals, Ladona julia, was staggering. You really have to hunt for this one in Ohio, where it is endangered and confined to but a few bogs. At Seney, they were all over the roadways, basking on the gravel in association with numerous Dot-tailed Whitefaces, Leucorrhinia intacta.

I had not previously had the opportunity to really observe numerous individuals of the Chalk-fronted Corporal, and was struck by their mode of perching. It's as if they just collapse flat on their bellies. They splay their legs out to the sides, literally laying prostrate with their wings touching the ground.

At one point, a gorgeous sedge meadow beckoned, and out I waded to investigate some curious plants. Along the way, I was delighted to encounter several individuals of this really tiny little damsel. It is a Sedge Sprite, Nehalennia irene, a real micro-dragon. True to form, it was in a habitat loaded with various sedges, and indeed this individual is perched on a sedge blade. Everything about these sprites is pleasing to the eye, but the coloration and pattern of the thorax and head is pure artistry.

This, I believe, is just a Familiar Bluet, Enallagma civile, but it's still quite the looker. As is often the case on cool windy days, there were scores of bluets and forktails hiding amongst the grasses and sedges, but this one was the most frequent.
I am seriously hoping the weather takes a strong turn in the warm and sunny direction, and soon. Friday, I'll be on Wisconsin's gorgeous Door Peninsula, seeking the federally endangered Hine's Emerald dragonfly. I've got the spot to go, and barring disastrous weather there should be no problem finding that green-eyed beauty. If I do, I'll try and get some decent photos to share.


nina at Nature Remains. said...

Hope, hope, hope you find it, Jim.
I've really had a good summer with dragonflies--it makes up for the lack of vernal pool life right now.
And, they're pretty plentiful there!

Marvin said...

At first glance I thought those Chalk-fronted Corporals were dead.

The Sedge Sprite is a beauty.