DSA 2018

All the way to Ludlow.

Thursday 8/2: Left the house around 8, was at the Longmeadow sand bar just after 9:30. About the second bird I saw was a juvenile tern, so doubled back for the scope. It appeared to be a Common (first one this year in the county). Decent bit of other stuff including an egret, a few other herons, a peep, etc. On to Fannie Stebbins. Hot and steamy plus wet trails made for a quiet walk. Tried Bondi’s Island next but I wasn’t up for dealing with the dump and moved on.Common TernCommon Tern

 

After a brief stop at Big Y for water, toothpaste, and lunch, I headed to Mt. Tekoa. Very quiet midafternoon and the distances in the directions didn’t line up (it said 1.1 miles to the reservoir, I went there and back and don’t think I hit one mile). Sapsucker was about the best thing. Made a couple stops along the river on Rt. 20 after but it was high and nothing was seen.

Got to the hotel a little after 4, went out with the group for dinner (forget the name of the place, decent chicken parm), and then got ready for the real meeting.

Friday 8/3: Started with a quick run to Walmart for the long-sleeved shirt I forgot. Drove with Dave, Shelley, and Lenore to the Wilbraham Cedar Swamp. Bit disappointing, we couldn’t find a way actually into the swamp and it was even hotter. Got lots of the usual odes, nothing exciting.

After lunch (forget where again, but good fish sandwich), we decided not to do the long walk at Conant Brook and just worked up the rivers a bit. All 3 dancers, a cooperative spinylegs, and a Swamp Spreadwing or two were the highlights. Got back to the hotel just ahead of a downpour. Later learned that the group that went to the dam had a large darner swarm right where they parked and no rain. Oh well.

Blue fronted DancerBlack shouldered Spinylegs

Swamp Spreadwing

 

Saturday 8/4: Rode with Glenn, Lenore, and Meena to Facing Rock WMA. Still cloudy (we were delayed an hour or two because of downpours) and nothing exciting here (ovipositing Shadow Darner below).

Ovipositing Shadow Darner

After a lunch stop (decent chicken wrap), we went to where Josh had found Tiger Spiketail last year. He forgot which street the trailhead was on and we ended up at a dead end. A dead end with a Tiger Spiketail flying around! After enjoying that, we found the right spot. I spotted another spiketail and a nymph was dug up.

Tiger Spiketail

Tiger viewing

 

We continued to a nearby river access where two Zebra Clubtails were flying around. The river was way too high however, and it quickly clouded up. Then started pouring. We bailed and headed towards the hotel but it cleared along the way, so we pulled in at Camp White. Big swarm of darners but all up high except for one Green-striped. Eventually gave up and got back to a car before an even heavier downpour started.

Green striped Darner

After getting back to the hotel, I checked in with Josh and found they had avoided the downpour. We met back up at Camp White but the rain apparently had ended the flight for the night. Stopped at Randall’s for ice cream instead of dinner.

Sunday 8/5: We started the day at Stebbins. It was fairly quiet again, but I did net a Brush-tipped Emerald. We eventually gave up and moved to the river. Turns out there was another access point. No luck with anything right at the river but Michael found a perched Riverine Clubtail and then I found a pair.Riverine ClubtailsRiverine Clubtail

 

It was pretty hot, so a few of us decided to head up into the hills. Glenn led us to the Keystone Arches Rail Trail. We had a presumed Ocellated Darner immediately but it wouldn’t cooperate. Moving further up the river, we found a bunch of clubtails. Most were Eastern Least but there was a Dragonhunter and 2 (still) unidentified Snaketails along with a Superb Jewelwing. Up the trail, we found a porcupine but no darner swarm. Back where we started, one Ocellated was  flying a regular enough pattern to net and confirm. And then I drove the 2.5 hours home.TetrigidOcellated Darner
Superb JewelwingDragonhunterLeast ClubtailSnaketails

Porcupine

Watatic bugs

Some highlights from the weekend

Belvosia

Belvosia borealis

Laphria

Laphria sp (near sericea?)

Band-winged Meadowhawk

Band-winged Meadowhawk

Variable Darner

Variable Darner

Chalk-fronted Corporal

Chalk-fronted Corporal (ties my late date)

Clamp-tipped Emerald

Clamp-tipped Emerald

Azure Bluets

Azure Bluets

Spotted SpreadwingSpotted Spreadwing

Diogmites with lunch

Diogmites basalis with lunch

Junco

How’d this get in here? Two here plus a family nearby.

First Insects

All from last weekend

Springtime Darner

Springtime Darner, Assabet River NWRWhiteface

Dot-tailed White-faceBeaverpond Baskettail

Beaverpond BaskettailHenry's Elfin

Henry’s Elfin, Arlington Great Meadows

Variable

On Saturday I headed west hoping for a few new dragonflies for the year (and for my county list). First stop was the Nashua River in Shirley, which is a good spot for Arrow and Zebra Clubtails (not that I’ve seen them yet). A few things flying around when I arrived proved to be mostly Illinois River Cruisers with a Black-shouldered Spinyleg or two, both new for the year. Unfortunately after maybe 15 minutes of wading around, it clouded up and activity dropped. I checked the radar, saw one little spot over where I was heading but figured it would clear by then, so off towards Ashby I went.

Spinylegs

Arriving at Bennett Rd, it was still mostly cloudy. The walk in was quiet with just a few meadowhawks and a couple sprites at the wet spot. Starting up Watatic, I had a couple darners fly by. Setting up at the bigger field, I quickly had a Black-tipped in hand.

Black-tipped Darner

Good numbers of those flying around and one Shadow Darner by the beaver pond. A few Somatochloras joined in but stayed too high.

With the sun now out, I decided to follow the trail a ways up the mountain. Lots of darners but a few in hand and a few perched all were Black-tipped. Finally, a slightly different looking one perched. It was in a pine and fairly obscured for photos, so I took a careful swing and had it in hand.

Variable Darner

Interesting stripe pattern and a dark line on the face. I pulled out the book and compared a bit but wasn’t confident in any of the options other than it was something different and very good for the county. I eventually put her back on a tree and got a couple more shots including a clear view of the genitalia.

Variable Darner

Variable Darner details

I continued up the trail a bit, eventually getting (and losing) a Clamp-tipped Emerald. Deciding to head back down, another emerald landed for full frame photos.

Clamp-tipped Emerald

Other high flying emeralds looked more interesting, but high flying was the key. Back at the water, there were a few bluets. I chased one around and eventually caught it, finding it to be Hagen’s, which was new for me in the county. Also good numbers of Azure Bluets, none of which posed particularly well (and none of the Hagen’s ever settled down at all).

Hagen's Bluet

Azure Bluet

Back at the car, I posted one darner photo the the NE Odes facebook group, then headed for Townsend State Forest. A mating pair of Sweetflag Spreadwings was nice (and made ID much easier). Working my way around to the big pond, I found a few Frosted Whitefaces and a probable Canada Darner, but it clouded up and then started raining heavily. A check of the radar looked like it wasn’t going to stop quickly, so I headed home instead of Bertozzi or the Nashua again.

Back home, discussion of the darner had picked up, centering on Lake and Variable. I checked the manual, misread the diagram and threw Subarctic out. Fortunately, Jason Lambert was strongly in the Variable camp and was able to get a female the next day to show how I misread the genitalia. So, not the first in state in years find I was hoping for but still a new record for the county.

Cranberry Bog 6/9

Fun few hours with Alan Ankers today.

Lilypad

Lilypad

Two shots of Lilypad Clubtail

Unicorn

And the very similar Unicorn Clubtail

Dusky

Dusky Clubtail

Dusky

Finishing off a New England Bluet lunch.

Elegant

Elegant Spreadwing

Start of Summer Bugs

I spent today poking around a few areas mostly in northern Middlesex county, mostly looking for bugs. Some highlights below:

Morning Snack

Lancet Clubtail with Slender Spreadwing snack

Robber

Presumed Laphria sp Robber Fly, also with snack.

Elegant

Elegant Spreadwing

Buckeye

Common Buckeye (1 of 4!)

Brook

Brook Snaketail, the main highlight of the day, waiting for confirmation on some of the details but likely the northeasternmost for Mass. Also thought that spot should have a snaketail. Update: confirmed as first for the Merrimack watershed in MA.

Moustached

Moustached Clubtail

Moustached

Why it’s named

Also American Kestrel and a chickadee nest I could peer into, a very nice day.