July Dragonflies - 2011

Photos by Glenn Corbiere

 

I'm going to cheat a little, starting with June 30. July is winding down, but there is still plenty of good Oding left this year!

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Gomphus adelphus (Mustached Clubtail), male

I made a brief stop along the East Branch of the Westfield River, in Cummington, MA, and walked along about a furlong of shoreline on June 30. I didn't see too many gomphids along the way, but did photograph a few. Here is a male Mustached Clubtail, Gomphus adelphus, with nice mature coloring. They have a relatively long flight period, and can usually be found the entire month of June and July.

 

 

 

Ophiogomphus carolus (Riffle Snaketail), male

This male Riffle snaketail was also in the streamside vegetation - the same location as above. He has nice green coloring in the thorax,but not as vivid as it can get in this species.

 

 

 

Stylurus amnicola (Riverine Clubtail), male

Riverine clubtails (Stylurus amnicola) are difficult to find after emergence. They leave the river for more upland hunting areas. They can be sometimes found in overgrown clearings, but they shy away from direct sun. Often, they alight low in the vegetation, and have the habit of perching in partial shade. It's difficult to get an unobstructed view of one, and even if you do, you're often dealing with a difficult exposure. Here the sun was not at it's brightest, making the exposure a little more managable. This was in a woodland clearing, abut a half mile from the Connecticut River in Hadley, Massachusetts, taken on July 1.

 

 

 

Stylurus amnicola (Riverine Clubtail), male 2

This is a different male. Looking at the two images closely, this one looks less mature than the first. Riverine Clubtails, at least the males, often have a unique way of flying - they continually bounce up and down one to two feet. This allowed me to spot this male from about 20 yards away. He did perch low in the vegetation, but in the open since the sun wasn't quite as strong at the time. Were it not for a tip or two from Blair, I might still be searching for this species.

 

 

 

Canada Lily

I got to the Hawley Bog on a cool afternoon. There wasn't a lot of dragonfly activity, so I took a couple wildflower photos. I hate to carry my camera gear and come up empty! This is a Canada Lily along the woodland trail

 

 

 

Grass Pink Orchids

Beautiful Grass Pink Orchids along the bog boardwalk at the remote Hawley Bog. I did see one or two possible striped emeralds cruising by, but didn't get a good look at them.

 

 

 

Ischnura kellicotti (Lilypad Forktail), male

I've had a difficult time finding this species, and had no photographs of it after 10 years. Kind thanks to Joshua Rose for tipping me off to a modest population of Lilypad Forktails (Ischnura kellicotti) at Fitzgerald Lake in Northampton, MA. It's a tiny but eye-catching species. I took these photos on July 4.

 

 

 

Ischnura kellicotti (Lilypad Forktail), immature female

lou have to photograph them at quite close range. With this lilypad dwelling species, that pretty much means in the water. There was a breeze coming off the small lake, which stirred up enough ripple action to make the photography difficult. Here is a tip: If you're in the water at a dam, the drop off is usually rather sudden!

 

 

 

Ischnura kellicotti (Lilypad Forktail), female

This Lilypad Forktail is transitioning from the deep orange of an immature female, to the pruinose/blue of mature forktail. The eyespots are still orange, and you can still see a bit of the orange showing through here and there elsewhere on the bug.

 

 

 

Ischunura kellicotti (Lilypad Forktail) mature female

On my first visit to Fitzgerald Lake, I didn't spot any mature female Lilypad Forktails. I went back 6 days later, and found that all the females now had the mature coloring. I risked life and limb to get this photo. OK, maybe not life and limb, but I did risk my camera and lens.

 

Ischnura kellicotti (Lilypad Forktail) male two

One last male Lilypad Forktail here from the same location on July 10. I couldn't resist the colorful background.

 

 

 

Libellula cyanea (Spangled Skimmer), immature male

I took this photo of an immature male spangled skimmer in a roadside clearing at the Beartown State Forest in Berkshire County, MA on July 14. I don't often see this species in Berkshire County.

 

 

 

Cordulegaster maculata (Twin-spotted Spiketail), male

This was also taken at the Beartown State Forest, at the outlet of a beaver dam adjacent to the Appalachian Trail. My partner Sika was busy snapping photos, so I wandered over to see what was capturing her attention. She was standing streamside when this beautiful Twin-spotted Spiketail landed next to her. He was quite cooperative.

 

 

 

Enallagma vesperum (Vesper Bluet), male

I spent a total of about 5 hours on two different occasions standing in the shallows, trying to avoid sinking into the mud, while juggling my photo gear to capture Vesper Bluets (Enallagma vespurum). They usually don't start coming out until about the last hour before sunset, and are active well after sunset. I photographed a number of males of this beautiful species, but in two nights I didn't spot a single female. So where's all the females? Maybe they don't show until it's too dark for photographs.

 

 

 

Cordulegaster obliqua (Arrowhead Spiketail)

I decided to look for striped emerald dragonflies on the hottest day of the year. I was walking a little bit of the Appalachian Trail, in Tyringham, Berkshire County, MA. I came upon a seep crossing the trail, and decided to follow it. I had followed this seep in the past, but this time I went in the opposite direction. I came upon about four or five Arrowhead Spiketails (Cordulegaster obliqua). This is a species I had never seen before, so I was quite happy. The seep was tough to follow, and after spending an hour or two trying to get the best photos I could, which wasn't easy because it was shady along much of the seep, I was drenched. - thoroughly drenched. I continued on to Knee Deep pond, and didn't see a single striped emerald, but I did find a species I wasn't sure could be found in the western counties of Massachusetts. Too bad, every Arrowhead I spotted was a male. It's getting late for this species, but hopefully I can get back once more in the next week or so and photograph a female.

 

 

 

 

All Images are Copyrighted by Glenn Corbiere, and are not to be used without permission.


 

If you're interested in the dragonflies and damselflies of Massachusetts, the fine field guide by Blair Nikula, Jennifer Ryan and Matthew Burne is a must. "A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts" is available from the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.

 

 

 

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