Scouting odonate habitat using Google Earth is quicker and simpler than a site visit, but when you think a new location has potential you still need to “ground truth” what is shown in the remotely-sensed imagery.
For example, the following Google Earth image suggests it should be relatively easy to reach the banks of two tributaries that flow into Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve.
In contrast, look at the following photorealistic 32-bit HDR composite image of Dyke Marsh as viewed facing southeast from River Towers Condominiums. The banks of one of the streams are choked with dead vegetation, flattened by a recent flooding rain event. In mid-summer, the same location is likely to be a tough slog due to waist-high vegetation!
Look closely at the preceding composite image. Did you notice the beaver lodge? The George Washington Memorial Parkway appears along the base of the tree line shown in the background. You can see a white vehicle that seems to be driving through the marshland, near the center of the image.
Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.