Goodbye, Blue Dashers. Hello, red meadowhawks…
I guess that sums things up. I only went shooting one day this week, and that was a visit to the Allegan Forest on Thursday. I spent the time in the fields off 48th Ave. The Blue Dashers are diminishing rapidly. The Dot-tailed Whitefaces are gone. And now the red meadowhawks are out in abundance.
When I say ‘red meadowhawk,” I’m not referring to any particular species. There are Whitefaced Meadowhawks, Cherryfaced Meadowhawks, Ruby Meadowhawks, and soon Yellow Legged (a.k.a. Autumn) Meadowhawks. There were still some Blue Dashers on the wing – but the months are turning and the red dragon’s time is coming.
Last Thursday I also encountered a couple of species that I had not seen before. The most interesting was a the Eastern Ambertail. This dragonfly is very small – just over an inch in length. I found a few individuals flying and perching in a patch of Bee Balm. Both of the individuals I saw were females, but I’ll be looking for a male to round out the photographic collection.
The other new sighting was a little less distinctive. This was a
SlatyFour Spotted Skimmer, which strikes me as one of the plainest dragonflies I’ve ever seen. At first I thought it was a female whitetail or twelve spotted skimmer that I have gotten covered in mud. But the more I looked the more I realized it was something different, so I managed to get one shot of it at the edge of the temporary marsh. It seemed to be quite alone – I only saw this one individual – but there must be others around.
We’ve gone a few weeks in west Michigan without major rains, and the temporary marsh is beginning to recede a bit. However, it is still much higher now, in late July, than it often is in May or even April. Places that I walked though a few years ago, without even getting my feet wet, are still submerged. There’s been a great explosion of amphibians in the marsh, and on this trip I saw lots of green frogs and Fowler’s Toads along the water’s edge.
I think the Slaty Skimmer may actually be a Four-spotted Skimmer (Libellula quadrimaculata).
Comment from: Member
Thanks, Darrin - dusting off my field guide that seems quite obvious now. Thanks for pointing that out - I corrected the post.