Saturday, June 13, 2015

Odonates in The Pearl: Tanner Springs Park

Over the years I have occasionally driven by Portland’s Tanner Springs Park and its enticing urban wetland, but I never made the effort to stop and spend some time during the odonate season—until recently. The park occupies a single city block in the heart of the Pearl District. If you’re not from around here, the Pearl District was once an area of warehouses, light industry, and rail yards known as the “Northwest Industrial Triangle”. This section of the city has experienced significant urban renewal since the mid-1980s and is now a vibrant area of commerce and urban residences.

Tanner Springs Park is not your textbook city park. It’s a great example of melding “wild” natural, “tamed” natural, and unnatural elements in complementary ways. About two-thirds of the park are what I would describe as unkempt—which is a good thing. It isn’t all manicured lawns, ornamental vegetation, and fountains. Check out the view at Google Maps.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Rewards of Looking for Exuviae

Recently I was looking for odonates at a place called Grand Island on the Willamette River in Oregon. This is in Yamhill County which is one of the more under-surveyed counties in the state (only 24 species recorded at the time). I found a couple of new species for the county with little effort—Tule Bluet (Enallagma carunculatum) and Western Pondhawk (Erythemis collocata), both very common and widespread species in the region.

Male Tule Bluet (Enallagma carunculatum) on left, and immature male Western Pondhawk (Erythemis collocata) at Grand Island, Oregon.