Yesterday the moons aligned and I was actually at St-Lazare sand pits when the sun peeked through and the dragonflies flew. It has been a long time coming this year, previously I had been reduced to searching the grasses for bluets and seeing just the odd one for my trouble although I did manage to pick up a tick of the blood-sucking kind.
In initially overcast conditions I checked out the seasonal pool at the west end of the complex and was delighted to find that because of the recent rain it had recovered to around 60% of its former glory. The seepage that feeds the pool holds Eastern Red Damsel Amphiagrion saucium (Agrion rougeậtre) and they were flying in greater numbers than I’ve ever seen there. Photographing them was something of a challenge as the Nikon just would not focus, I may have to drown it in a bucket if it keeps this up! I did manage one shot of a pair in-cop.
I was searching the seepage for Brush-tipped Emerald Somatochlora walshii (Cordulie de Walsh) and managed to find one but it would not land. Better still was an American Emerald Cordulia shurtleffi (Cordulie de Shurtleffer), a new species for me at the site and my 71st there, not bad for such a relatively tiny site.
The same patch of growth held another insect, much bigger than the emeralds and patrolling low over the narrow seepage, a spiketail. Patience is occasionally rewarded and the spiketail landed. The amount of yellow on the abdomen and the obvious yellow blob towards the tip confirmed my initial ID as Delta-spotted Spiketail Cordulegaster diastatops (Cordulégastre aux yeux séparés). Fortunately it did land a while and the camera even focussed for me this time.
As the temperature climbed and the grey sky became sunnier, more insects took to the wing. Green Darners Anax junius (L’anax) were suddenly plentiful and making inroads into the insects that had been feeding on me as I walked the area, (hopefully). I decided to see whether the improvement in conditions had encouraged anything else so I walked the large wet meadow flushing many tenerals and a few spreadwings that all turned out to be Northern Spreadwing Lestes disjunctus (Leste disjoint), below are a couple of photos.
After such success I went out into the main works and checked the open water areas. For the first time this year there were odes to look at (if not photograph) and I quickly added a few species to the pit year list. My morning species list was:
Northern Spreadwing Lestes disjunctus (Leste disjoint); Eastern Red Damsel Amphiagrion saucium (Agrion rougeậtre); Hagen’s Bluet Enallagma hageni (Agrion de Hagen); Boreal Bluet Enallagma boreale (Agrion boréal); Eastern Forktail Ischnura verticalis (Agrion vertical); Green Darner Anax junius (L’anax); Delta-spotted Spiketail Cordulegaster diastatops (Cordulégastre aux yeux séparés); American Emerald Cordulia shurtleffi (Cordulie de Shurtleffer); Brush-tipped Emerald Somatochlora walshii (Cordulie de Walsh); Common Baskettail Epitheca cynosura (Épithèque à queue de beagle); Prince Baskettail Epitheca Princeps (Épithèque princière); Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Traméa Lacérée); Dot-tailed Whiteface Leucorrhinia intacta (Leucorrhine mouchetée); White-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum obtrusum (Sympétrum éclaireur); Twelve-spotted Skimmer Libellula pulchella (La gracieuse); Common Whitetail Plathemis lydia (La lydienne); Widow Skimmer Libellula luctuosa (La mélancolique); Chalk-fronted Corporal Ladona julia (La julienne); Four-spotted Skimmer Libellula quadrimaculata (La Quadrimaculée).
You will notice that I have included the scientific and French names in this post. I need to learn the scientific and French names and so what better way than to write them down regularly.
Comments are always welcome, as are any photos or ID queries, please contact me at DennisM@videotron.ca