Mile High Dragons

Howdy everyone!  Seems like it has been ages since my last post, but that is likely due to the extra high output over the last couple of months leading up to the last post.  One of the reasons for the delay was taking some time to work up another non-birding post – kind of a theme this month and figured I would keep it going at least one more post.  Not sure how much longer I can hold out on the birds though, developing a horrible twitch from the withdrawal hehehe.

Dragonfly at Denver Botanical Gardens May 2015

The good news is my brother and I were able to bird last Saturday up at Chain O’ Lakes State Park.  We took a 6 hour hike starting at 9am and then caught an hour or so after catching a bite to eat.  Unfortunately, it was pretty damn cold out with the temps dropping down to 23 the night before with a healthy dose of snow and sleet to accompany us on the drive up.  On the positive side, we had a dry day with plenty of sunshine that brought out a lot of birds for us to shoot.  I’ll catch you up on the day’s tin loading at another time but it is highly likely there was at least a +1 for each of us that day – Yeah!

Dragonfly at Denver Botanical Gardens May 2015

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Fly Dragonhunter Fly

Thought I’d go with a Dragonfly post for today since I’m still trying to give you a break from the barrage of birds you had to put up with last month.  Trust me, there are plenty more to come from our feathered friends but in due time.  Until then, let’s take a look at a subject that has a tendency to drive me completely bonkers when trying to identify them.

You would think that a creature with so many unique colors and distinct features would be a breeze when it comes to determining what it is.   Instead, I liken it to trying to trying to identify a specific type of Sparrow.  Countless hours are spent interrogating the web for any clear cut way to label them.   Too bad I can’t show you the number of tabs I have open on my browser right now – there must be close to thirty of them in all each providing  a close reference shot or pointing to a guided ID site.  Pretty sure this is the same troubles I had with identifying the previous set of Dragonflies (link here).  Guessing I gave up then since there was no identification there.  It was a different Dragonfly for sure so that would not have helped me much. My consensus at this time from all the references is this creature is a Dragonhunter.  Greg Lasley’s site (link here) had a sample which comes pretty close.  The coloring in his showed definite yellow on the bottom – hoping it is just the angle that makes mine look a little darker.

Then there is the problem with apparently everyone making up their own names for them.  I first found the Insect Identification site which referred to them as Western Flying Adder (link here).  Based on that I was searching high and low for a Western Flying Addr which just produced a bunch of snakes until I found a reference on What’s That Bug site where the moderator calls into question the name (link here).  Then we have the Illinois Butterfly site (link here) that has a similar picture that is labeled as an Arrowhead Spiketail.  This prompted an hour of tracking down that name until I took a close look at the yellow markings on the top of the body near the head and decided that was different.  Oh and of course on the same website they have a picture of a Lancet Clubtail (link here) which looks damn close as well.  Sigh, why is this so hard?  Decided to spend some more time there and did find their specimen for a Dragonhunter (link here). which again looks like the best reference.  A quick check of our friends over at Wikipedia list the Dragonhunter and then state is is sometime called a Black Clubtail or a Black Dragon.  Unbelievable.  I will say the region map at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (link here) was pretty sparse in our area, but unless someone has other opinions I’m going with the Dragonhunter Dragonfly.  A pretty cool name actually.

Talk about work.  If they weren’t so cool to photograph I’d probably just throw in the towel and focus on the frogs at the pond instead.