Sunday, October 23, 2011

Recent Outings on the Lower Columbia

I was able to get out on a couple of warm, sunny days this week. I may not have that opportunity again around here for several months, so I enjoyed it while I could! Several species are still relatively abundant at this time of year in this area, while others are definitely winding down. Many summer species are gone for the year, of course.

Last Sunday (16 Oct) I went to Ice House Lake in Skamania County, Washington. It’s right across SR-14 from the bridge that spans the Columbia River to Cascade Locks, Oregon. There are often several anglers around the margin, but on that afternoon I had the place, and the odonates, all to myself. It was fun.

A couple of reasons why this place is special is that it’s one of the few places in Washington where the Pacific Clubtail (Gomphus kurilis) occurs, and it has a population of Chalk-fronted Corporal (Ladona julia) which is unusual for a low elevation site (about 175 feet above sea level) in this region. Neither of these species is flying at this time of year, but there is plenty more to keep me occupied. Below are several shots from Ice House Lake.

Saffron-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum costiferum) was one of the common species. Here’s a male:

The aptly named Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) was also present in good numbers. Here’s a male followed by a female:

The California Spreadwing (Archilestes californica) was the dominant damselfly. Here’s a female:

Present, but definitely winding down in numbers were Tule Bluets (Enallagma carunculatum). This is a male:

On Tuesday (18 Oct) I visited Trojan Park in Columbia County, Oregon. The ponds here are much larger than the little Ice House Lake, but had a bit less diversity. It’s always interesting to see how different locations differ in species diversity and abundance at the same time of year.

I saw no Saffron-winged Meadowhawks at Trojan Park, but Striped Meadowhawk (Sympetrum pallipes) was abundant (vs. only one or two at Ice House Lake). Autumn Meadowhawk seemed to be similar in abundance at the two locations. Trojan Park also lacked California Spreadwings, with only the little Tule Bluet representing the damselflies.

Here’s another male Autumn Meadowhawk:

A female Striped Meadowhawk:

A very cooperative female Olive Clubtail (Stylurus olivaceus) which wandered over from the Columbia River, no doubt:

Also at both locations were a number of Paddle-tailed and Shadow Darners (Aeshna palmata and umbrosa, respectively). I got a number of shots of both species, but I’ll save those for an upcoming post on differentiating them.