Sunday, July 9, 2017

Belle Isle is for dragonflies

Belle Isle was hopping today - with both people and dragonflies.  In prior years I have not visited the park on summer weekend afternoons or evenings, but I have gone in the morning.  Our new state park is over-the-top busy.  This morning my gym class ended at 12:00 noon and I was prepared with camera and bins to drive to Belle Isle from the gym with the goal of searching the ponds and streams for dragonflies.  I was not disappointed.    


Above and three below:  the tiny Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera).  A single male was guarding a small territory near the shoreline of the sluggish stream near the tennis courts.  This is the first male Eastern Amberwing I have seen.  Last year I saw a female in dry, sandy habitat in Oakland County.



Above:  the habitat the Eastern Amberwing was protecting.  He's actually in this photo above if you can find him.  As I was taking photos, kayakers were paddling by and nearby Eastern Kingbirds and Chimney Swifts were doing their separate styles of chittering.


In this same area there were Black Saddlebags, Widow Skimmers, Eastern Pondhawks, Blue Dashers,   a mosaic which did not stick around for photographs and some bluets of which the only one I could identify was Eastern Forktail.

I was thrilled to find the amberwing, but I had only a short time so I moved to my next spot, the pond at the opposite end of the woodland trails.


Above:  The next habitat - the northwest edge of Lake Okonoka.  The heavy rain of the day and night before caused the lake to spill over into the grass.


Above and two below:  Horrible photos of, I think (hope), Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina).  Still checking this ID out.




I was surprised to see a single Lesser Yellowlegs - possibly brought down by the heavy rain on Thursday night.  It landed in a good spot, but it was very skittish.


A true beauty, male Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina).

Next location was the opposite end of of the same lake across the road from the Blue Heron lagoon.


Fuzzy photo of another Eastern Amberwing on a lily pad in the middle of the pond.


Mating Halloween Pennants - doesn't look that comfortable, but seems to work for them.  They also oviposited in tandem.

I thought I saw a Banded Pennant fly into the wet, grassy area of Lake Okonoka on Saturday, so I returned earlier in the morning on Sunday to see if I could find Banded Pennant.  I didn't see any, but below are some of the other things I found.


Tiger Swallowtail


Female Blue Dasher.  


Blue Dasher - possibly an immature male.


Above and below:  I want to claim this as a Northern Bluet (Enallagma cyanthigerum), but as noted in a June blog post, bluets are difficult to separate in the field from the several other species of large blue and black bluets.  Habitat description also cannot be used because it is so overlapping.



Bumblebee nectaring on swamp rose.


Bumblebee look-alike is a Carpenter bee nectaring from chicory.  Note the shiny, smooth abdomen.


Two tiny, baby wood ducks were unaccompanied by a watchful adult.  They were pecking around the water seeming to make the best of a bad situation.



Eastern Kingbird - found in many locations around the island.

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