Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 17, 2012: Erv's Field Notes #36

Eastern Pondhawk - Female (Erv Klaas)

Thursday, May 17, 2012. 4-5 pm. Sunny, warm, temperature in the low 80’s, strong southwesterly breeze.

 I found a quiet place on the north side of Jensen’s Pond to try out my new portable camp stool. This is the spot near the mink den that I found a few days ago. A man was fishing on the opposite side of the pond. I sat quietly and watched for dragonflies. Several 12-spotted Skimmers and Common Whitetails were patrolling the shore line. A male Eastern Pondhawk was perched on a dead limb in the water. A Dot-tailed Skimmer flew in and perched on a small stump in front of me. The latter two are first-of-the-year sightings for me. The Eastern Pondhawk is a common inhabitant here. It is a medium sized dragonfly with clear wings, a green face, a blue head and green abdomen. The female of this species is bright green all over with black spots. The Dot-tailed Skimmer is a small dragonfly with clear wings, a black body with a prominent yellow spot on the tip of its tail; the sexes are similar. Eastern Forktail damselflies were flitting in and out of the spike-rush growing along the water’s edge.

In the shallow water near shore, several adult blue-gill sunfish were busily guarding their nests in shallow depressions in the lake bottom. The water was clear and I could clearly see the blue markings on their gills and the white-tips of their fins as they flashed in the evening sunlight. Swarms of young blue-gill were milling around the adults and trying to dash into the nests, perhaps to eat the eggs they were guarding.

A pair of Common Green Darners in tandem came flying by. When dragonflies are in tandem it means that the male is clasping the female just behind the head. They will often remain connected like this for a couple of hours, occasionally stopping to land on a vertical stem with the female’s tail in the water while she lays a clutch of eggs. A Brown Thrasher startled me as it flew into the bushes behind me. The Eastern Painted Turtles that slid off the nearby logs when I first arrived, quietly began returning to their sunning spots. One medium sized turtle poked his head through the floating algae nearby and I took his picture. When I moved to leave he quickly pulled his head back and disappeared into the depths. I did not hear Wolf Oesterreich approach and suddenly he was standing beside me. I pointed out the Dot-tailed Skimmer and he took a photo. It was time to join Deb Lewis on the scheduled wildflower walk at the shelter.

Erv Klaas

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