Wednesday July 31st Richard Yank came over to St-Lazare to enjoy the probably short-lived phenomenon of Variegated Meadowhawk Sympetrum corruptum (Sympétrum bagarreur) emerging. We were successful but quickly decided that no Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Traméa Lacérée) were flying and so paid a visit to the site I call Baie Brazeau http://goo.gl/maps/2V7JK (route from Rigaud to Baie Brazeau). We were hoping for emeralds but would take anything that came our way.
For those unfamiliar with the site, it is leased by the town of Point Fortune and consists of a linear trail that follows and old railway embankment. At the end to the 1.3km trail is a viewing pavilion and a high tower that overlooks marsh and pools. Along the trail are a few springs and mixed open and woodland habitats making for a broad diversity of birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
Darners became the order of the day as several were seen and a few even landed. Darner ID, or at least the commoner ‘mosaic’ types, is still a bit of a problem as they tend to be very similar and require several elements of ‘plumage’, structure and appendage shape to be seen well to be able to hit the right mark. Perched darners will sometimes let you get all of this information in two photographs and there is no shame in not calling a field ID but waiting until you have your various guides in front of you and the insect up on a 15” screen. Here is a darner thing I posted last year.
Below is one of the Lance-tipped Darner Aeshna constricta (Aeschne constrictor) photos taken on the day followed by a view of another insect showing the same waist (abdominal section 2 but let’s call it waist to keep it simple!) mark (arrow head) and a better view of the paddles (cerci).
Finally a look at a Shadow Darner Aeshna umbrosa (Aeschne des pénombres) photo taken on the day.
As we walked the trail we saw a large, dark ode patrolling at around waist height. I thought it might be an emerald sp. So we had a choice, wait for it to land (or clear off!) or catch it. My netting skills are at present raw but Richard showed cat-like reflexes (for the second time that day) to net the beast. Once it became stationary it was clear that it was a Swift River Cruiser Macromia illinoiensis (Macromie noire) and a new species for the site (# 53). My experience with these was limited to hitting one with the car by the Red River about 30km from Baie Brazeau and a couple near Huntingdon so it was pleasing to see a healthy one up close and personal.
The wetter areas of Baie Brazeau were not too productive. No Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis (Libellule véloce) this time but plenty of other, commoner stuff to keep us busy.
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