Teamwork, and some take-aways

Mike Powell and I spent two consecutive Saturdays in April searching for a species of dragonfly that Kevin Munroe, Manager, Huntley Meadows Park, was reasonably certain should be at the park, although nobody had ever seen one. Turns out Kevin was right!

As we were walking through a remote part of the park, Mike spooked a winged insect as he walked past it: Mike didn’t see it; luckily I did. (Sometimes it’s good to be the tractor; sometimes it’s better to be the trailer.) At first I thought it might be another one of many crane flies we’d seen during our long walk, but as I moved closer to the insect’s new perch I realized we’d spotted our first “home-grown” dragonfly of the year! Like a dope, I didn’t bring a camera with me (more about that later) so I directed Mike to the place where the dragonfly was perching vertically a couple of feet above the ground. Mike was able to get a few shots at that spot, and a few more at its next perch. We lost sight of the dragonfly the last time it was spooked.

When we looked at one of the better photos on the LCD of Mike’s camera, the dragonfly looked a little like a Stream Cruiser dragonfly (Didymops transversa) on the small screen display. I asked Mike to scroll down so we could see a magnified view of the dragonfly’s terminal appendages. One look and I knew we’d found our quarry: the first Springtime Darner (Basiaeschna janata) ever seen/photographed at Huntley Meadows Park! This individual is a female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages (see “Related Resources, below).

Springtime Darner dragonfly (female)

18 April 2015 | Photograph used with permission from Michael Powell.

So what are the take-aways I mentioned in the title of this post?

  • Always carry a camera when you go into the field. I decided to travel light for a long, difficult walk on a hot and humid day: good thought; bad idea!
  • Set a goal or goals for your photowalks and do your homework so you know what the subject looks like and what its habits are. One important field marker: Springtime Darners are smaller than other members of the Darner Family; they appear to be the same size as an average-size member of the Skimmer Family.
  • Teamwork works! Mike is very familiar with the places we walked; I am familiar with the dragonfly for which we were searching. Working together, Mike and I achieved our goal and co-discovered another new species of odonate at Huntley Meadows Park.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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5 Responses to “Teamwork, and some take-aways”

  1. Springtime Darner dragonfly | Mike Powell Says:

    […] rewarded when Walter spotted this Springtime Darner. Check out Walter’s blog posting called Teamwork, and some take-aways for his observations about yesterday’s […]

  2. Springtime Darner dragonfly (female) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Resource: Teamwork, and some take-aways (my photoblog post describing the exciting discovery of another new species of odonate at Huntley […]

  3. Springtime Darner dragonfly (male) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] now that I’ve seen a Springtime Darner, I can stop hunting for this species. Huh? I saw one Springtime Darner in 2015 (my first) and another one in 2016, both females. Apparently, Mother Nature allows me to see one […]

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