Posts Tagged ‘Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge’

Familiar Bluet damselfly (male)

March 27, 2019

A Familiar Bluet damselfly (Enallagma civile) was spotted during a photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a male, as indicated by the pattern of coloration on his abdomen. Female E. civile is polymorphic, including two morphs: tan; and blue. Female blue morphs have a different pattern of black and blue markings on their abdomen than males of the same species.

21 SEP 2016 | Occoquan Bay NWR | Familiar Bluet (male)

Related Resource: Familiar Bluet damselfly (female).

Credits

Sincere thanks to Mike Boatwright and Michael Moore for verifying my tentative identification of the damselfly. Mike Boatwright is the founder and administrator of the Virginia Odonata Facebook group; Dr. Michael Moore is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at University of Delaware and odonate expert extraordinaire. Michael’s new Web site is a treasure trove of helpful resources.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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I don’t think so!

March 25, 2019

A horse fly, possibly Tabanus calens, was spotted after a long photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female, as indicated by her eyes.

Males have eyes that meet along a seam down the middle of the head (holoptic eyes); females have eyes that are well-separated. Source Credit: Benjamin A. Coulter, member of the BugGuide group on Facebook.

21 SEP 2016 | Occoquan Bay NWR | horse fly (female)

A wider view shows the horse fly is perched on my Honda Civic, just above the handle of the driver’s side front door. Male horse flies don’t bite; females bite, painfully!

Adult horse flies feed on nectar and sometimes pollen. Females of most species are anautogenous, meaning they require a blood meal before they are able to reproduce effectively, if at all. Much like male mosquitoes, male Tabanidae are not ectoparasitic and lack the mouth parts (mandibles) that the females use in drawing the blood on which they feed. Most female horse flies feed on mammalian blood, but some species are known to feed on birds or reptiles. Some are said to attack amphibians as well. Source Credit: Horse-fly, from Wikipedia.

21 SEP 2016 | Occoquan Bay NWR | horse fly (female)

I shooed the fly away from the front door handle, but she didn’t go far. She landed on the Honda logo on the trunk of my car — still too close for comfort! I’m happy to report I was able to get into my car without being bitten.

21 SEP 2016 | Occoquan Bay NWR | horse fly (female)

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Late bloomers

March 11, 2019

This blog post features photos of two late-summer flowering plants: Garden Phlox; and Common Evening Primrose.

Garden Phlox

A small plot of Garden Phlox (Phlox sp.) was spotted growing along Great Blue Heron Trail, beside Accotink Creek at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This species is a garden variety that escaped into the wild.

Common Evening Primrose

Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp.) was spotted in a shady location alongside Deephole Point Road at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

Evening Primrose is quite common but sometimes is not noticed because the flowers close up in bright light… Source Credit: Alonso Abugattas Jr, Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County Parks, Virginia USA.

Credits

Sincere thanks to members of the Capital Naturalist Facebook group for help in identifying these flowering plants.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

New discoveries in 2018 (non-odonates)

December 24, 2018

As 2018 is coming to a close quickly, it’s time to indulge in a little retrospection. This blog post features a few new non-odonates that I spotted for the first time in 2018.

Editor’s Note: Photos are presented in reverse-chronological order, based upon the date of the spotting.

Pandora Sphinx moth

This beauty was my reward after a long, mostly unproductive photowalk at Huntley Meadows ParkPosted on 24 September 2018.

20 SEP 2018 | Fairfax County, VA | Pandora Sphinx moth

Wild Turkey

Although I have seen signs of Wild Turkey at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 10 August 2018 is the first time I’ve seen actual birds at OBNWR. Posted on 19 August 2018 and 10 September 2018.

Northern Black Racer (mating pair)

Look closely — both heads are shown in the following photo. Posted on 30 September 2018.

21 APR 2018 | Huntley Meadows Park | black snakes (mating pair)


Next post: New odonate exuviae in 2018 (by family).

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Fiery fall fellow

November 28, 2018

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) was spotted during a photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a male, as indicated by his fiery red coloration and terminal appendages.

Editor’s Notes

Did you notice the date when the preceding photo was taken? Yep, it was two years ago! I was poking around in my photo archives looking for another photo when I stumbled across this one. I like the warm red color of the dragonfly and the timing seemed right on a cold late-fall day.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Unicorn Clubtail (female terminal appendages)

September 22, 2018

Two field markers can be used to identify female Unicorn Clubtail dragonflies (Arigomphus villosipes), as shown in the following annotated image: 1) they have two terminal appendages (cerci) rather than three (males); and 2) their hind wings are rounded rather than “indented” (males).

Image used with permission from Bob Blakney.

Editor’s Notes

In my experience, female Unicorn Clubtail dragonflies are seen uncommonly. Sincere thanks to Bob Blakney for kindly granting permission to use his excellent photograph of this uncommon beauty for instructional purposes.

Bob’s photo was taken on 18 May 2012 at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge using a Canon EOS Rebel T2i digital camera and Tamron AF 18-270mm macro lens.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Life and death at Occoquan Bay revisited

September 16, 2018

I revisited the set of photos that I shot of an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) with a fish in its talons, perched on a dead tree limb overhanging Fox Road at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia.

The Osprey was looking at me directly in the following photo. I wonder what the bird was thinking. With a piercing glare like that, I’m guessing he wasn’t thinking “Would you like to join me for lunch?”

23 AUG 2018 | Occoquan Bay NWR | Osprey (male, plus prey)

In stark contrast with the Osprey’s piercing glare, notice the fish’s vacant stare.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More Wild Turkey at OBNWR

September 10, 2018

Several Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) were spotted during a photowalk along Fox Road at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

There were four birds in the group, foraging along the road. The red-headed individual is a male.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Black Swallowtail butterfly

September 8, 2018

A Black Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) was spotted during a photowalk along Deephole Point Road at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly

September 4, 2018

A Zebra Swallowtail butterfly (Eurytides marcellus) was spotted during a photowalk along Deephole Point Road at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

Notice the Zebra Swallowtail lost both tails, possibly the result of close encounters with predators.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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