Saturday, July 22, 2017

Texas Odes

On 30 June, we explored a small, artificial pond in Denton County just north of Dallas, Texas. Like our photos from Kansas two days earlier, all were well known to us in Northfield, Minnesota. I was excited when I found the first dragonfly. It was flying about thorny bushes fairly distant from water. But, instead of something exotic, it proves to be a female Blue Dasher.
The second is a male Widow Skimmer. Except the Rocky Mountain west, these dragonflies are common across much of North America. The second photo is of a female Eastern Pondhawk, abundant across most of eastern North America. (We also saw an Eastern Amberwing, like the one from Kansas in my last post.)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Kansas Odonata

Our adventures last June began with a quick trip to visit kids in Dallas. Texas in the summer heat may not appeal to all, but I looked forward to seeing a few new dragonflies. Our first afternoon was in Andover, Kansas. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express that boasts a small duck pond. We found a number of dragonflies. Unfortunately, none was new. The first photo is of a male Eastern Amberwing.
Flying over the pond was a Prince Baskettail. Hard to photograph, but occasionally seen in Northfield.
This third photo is a Blue Dasher, abundant in many parts of the country.

This last damselfly is probably a Skimming Bluet. Note the lack of blue rings on the abdomen. The lily pads upon which it perched is also typical habitat for this species. (Thanks to Scott King for help identifying this one.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

We have been away from the Internet for the past three weeks. Our adventures began with a quick trip to Dallas to visit grandchildren. My target bird for this first leg of our journey was the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. I lacked a good photo in my collection and also missed seeing a vagrant flycatcher in Minnesota in June. These flycatchers are common in Texas and the southern Great Plains, They specialize in eating grasshoppers and beetles. Individual tail length is variable, although males generally have longer ones. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Four-spotted Skimmer

Four-spotted Skimmers are found across Canada and the northern United States (further south in the West). They also inhabit Europe and Asia, where they are known as Four-spotted Chasers. I caught this individual backlit in Erika’s garden on 8 June 2017. Some populations are migratory, and can be found in large aggregations. The prey upon other dragonflies, even those of similar size (Odonata Central).