With a weather forecast of sunny skies and a high in the lower 60s, I thought I’d get out to a couple of wetlands in the area of Battle Ground, Washington, that I’ve never visited before and see what they were like. I expected to see Pacific Forktail (Ischnura cervula), and I hoped to scrounge up something else—but didn’t. With this being a late spring, I can imagine all sorts of odonate nymphs just itching to pop out. They need more time obviously.
Here are a couple of Pacific Forktail images from today. None were completely mature, but a couple of the males were close—only the eye color wasn’t quite there yet. Note that the eyes are brown and gray instead of black and green.
One interesting male had the smallest dorsal thoracic spots that I ever recall seeing. They were so small that I first thought the top of the thorax was entirely black. Here’s a close-up to compare with the male above:
Technically it was a two species day since I flipped over a piece of lumber that was floating in a pond and I found this little darner (Aeshnidae) nymph. The little guy was only about a half-inch long, so it has a lot of growing to do before it emerges.
You can see how short the wing pads are (on top of the thorax just ahead of the base of the abdomen)—when it’s close to emerging the length of those will be at least the width of the head. It’s probably an Aeshna, the common species in the area being Paddle-tailed Darner (A. palmata) and Shadow Darner (A. umbrosa). I don’t expect to see adults of those species until July at the earliest.
It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow (70°F!) and maybe I can get out again and find something else flying.