2016 was the “Year of the Clubtail dragonfly.” Unofficially, that is. Or maybe it only seems like I saw a lot more clubtail dragonflies than in past years, including four new species for my life-list of odonates. Not that I actually maintain a list — it’s more like a memory file in my brain.
There were three other non-odonate “firsts” this year, one of which was a long time coming! My life-list additions in 2016 are presented in reverse-chronological order.
Shadow Darner dragonfly
Shadow Darner dragonfly (female), posted on 18 October 2016.
Although I’ve seen many male Shadow Darners, this is the first female I photographed.
Russet-tipped Clubtail dragonfly
Russet-tipped Clubtail dragonfly (male), posted on 26 September 2016.
I spent a lot of time unsuccessfully looking for Russet-tipped Clubtail dragonflies at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge. Soon after I surrendered in defeat, a Russet-tipped Clubtail found me. Imagine my surprise and delight when I spotted one at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR). Whoa, didn’t see that one coming!
Clearwing Moths (Genus Hemaris), published on 04 October 2016.
Dusky Dancer damselfly
Dusky Dancer damselflies (mating pair), published on 12 September 2016.
Black-shouldered Spinyleg dragonfly
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male), published on 11 August 2016.
Eastern Ringtail dragonfly
Eastern Ringtail dragonflies (males), published on 13 August 2016.
Powdered Dancer damselfly
Powdered Dancer (males, female), published on 23 August 2016.
Swift Setwing dragonfly
Making new friends, published on 10 July 2016.
Dragonhunter dragonfly (female), published on 24 June 2016.
This is the first female Dragonhunter I photographed.
Calico Pennant dragonfly
Calico Pennant dragonflies (males), published on 20 June 2016.
Prince Baskettail dragonfly
Changing of the guard, published on 16 June 2016.
Although I’ve seen many Prince Baskettail dragonflies, this one is the first I photographed. Prince Baskettails are fliers, not perchers.
Slender Bluet damselfly
Slender Bluet damselflies (mating pair), published on 24 October 2016.
Common Sanddragon dragonfly
Common Sanddragon dragonfly (emergent male), published on 08 June 2016.
Although this was the second emergent dragonfly I saw during 2016, this was the first time I was able to observe the entire metamorphosis from beginning to end.
Cobra Clubtail dragonfly
Cobra Clubtail claspers, published on 19 May 2016.
Polyphemus Silkmoth, published on 21 April 2016.
A Polyphemus Silkmoth (Antheraea polyphemus) was spotted along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park.
Spring Peeper frog
Spring Peeper, published on 01 May 2016.
Although I’ve heard Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) every spring for many years, this is the first one I saw.
Editor’s Note: The following location codes are used in some photo captions, shown above.
Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.