Sunday, June 4, 2017

Crosswinds Marsh

With Belle Isle off limits this weekend, I went to Crosswinds Marsh for a couple of hours.  I am still trying to figure out if CW deserves more time for observations.  The thing is, it's so large with so many different habitats that it can be hard to break down.  Yesterday I just did the routine boardwalk route and managed to find a few things.  

Above:  I think I did expect to see Eastern Pondhawks (Erythemis simplicicollis) - here an immature male - but I saw only two, both immature males.

Last year I began photographing dragonflies much later in the season. So in early June I was excited to find a new dragonfly for me.  Above and below:  Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta) - here an adult male perched on a lily pad.  Though new to me, the dot-tailed whiteface is widely distributed throughout the entire northern tier of the country.

Above:  Immature female Dot-tailed Whiteface.

Above:  Essentially unidentified bluet.  As a complete novice, I am always tempted to peg a bluet sighting as being Familiar Bluet just because of their extensive range.  But that's dumb - there are so many bluets - and this is not a Familiar Bluet. I wish it was a Lilypad Forktail, but I am going to guess instead Skimming Bluet (Enallagma geminatum).  I think bluets need to be held in the hand to make their identification.

Below:  Even with details of the eyes, head and thorax under a magnifying glass, so to speak, I think in an expert's hand it might come down to the appendage.

Above:  With maximum cropping and the black abdomen and appendage circled and enlarged, the appendage is still not seen.  All appendages are different, whether a little or a lot.  So, it remains an unidentified bluet.

Below:  a photograph of the appendage drawing from Dennis Paulson's book*.

I was thrilled to see Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) at Crosswinds. There are also Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudocorus) here but my photo was out-of-focus.

Eastern Phoebes were seen along the boardwalks.  It's likely they nested beneath the bridges.  Above and two below:  Finally one that was close enough to try for photos.  This is a hatch-year bird.

*Paulson, Dennis.  Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East, Princeton University Press, 2011, page 121.

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