My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

NYS Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey (Odonata)

Twelve-spotted Skimmer and group

Twelve-spotted Skimmer and group

Today was the Western New York training session for the New York Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey which has been organized by the NYS Natural Heritage Program. Funds for this project have come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services State Wildlife Grants Program which is administered by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This year’s training session was held at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and is the same location where the training was held two years ago.

Jen and Dot-tailed Whiteface

Jen photographing a Dot-tailed Whiteface

This is the 3rd and final year for the project (I sure hope the organizers are able to acquiring some additional funding to add a few more years to the project). The overall goal is to document the distribution of all odonate species occurring in New York State (and with a few other objectives). I did participate in 2005 in some of the Odonata here in Allegany State Park and got a little lax in getting out in the field last season. I do plan on trying to get out some this summer and looking for interesting dragonflies that might be found here in Allegany State Park. Of course I will keep you updated here on my blog on what I find.

Eastern Pondhawk in hand Eastern Pondhawk female

Eastern Pondhawk (Male then Female)

At todays workshop we (a group of naturalist) got together and learned (or relearned) many of the methods involved in submitting our findings to the Natural Heritage Program. Some other participants included Jennifer (Passion for Nature) and Jeremy (Dragonfly Eye), so make sure you visit their blogs for more info (and photos) from this workshop.

Jeremy catching dragonflies

Jeremy catching dragonflies

group learning

Group keying out a species of damselfly

Some of the species we saw today included the:

Aurora Damsel (I didn’t actually see the Aurora Damsel but the group did)

Eastern Forktail

Eastern Red Damsel*

Fragile Forktail

Marsh Bluet

Common Whitetail

Dot-tailed Whiteface

Eastern Pondhawk

Green Darner

Prince Baskettail*

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Widow Skimmer

*= first time I have ever seen this species, well that I know of!

Dot tailed Whiteface

Dot-tailed Whiteface

19 responses

  1. Looks like a fun day!

    I’d be a little scared to handle them – they look so fierce close-up!

    9 June 2007 at 11:25 pm

  2. Very cool.

    I saw a bunch of neat dragonflies at the park with my family today, too. I wish I would have taken some pictures of them…

    Dragonfly nymphs are UGGGGGLY! in my humble opinion. 😉

    10 June 2007 at 12:23 am

  3. Yeah, nymphs make my skin crawl…but the adults are so cool.
    I can’t seem to find the perfect ID website for dragonflies/damselflies. I guess I just have to do it the old-fashioned way and go to the library.

    10 June 2007 at 1:16 am

  4. winterwoman

    Wasn’t that a lot of fun? Hey, do you have a Model Release for that babe photographing the dragonfly? She could come after you and sue you know… Ha ha…


    10 June 2007 at 7:00 am

  5. OK, so I am amazed there are so many species of dragonflies. I had no clue! That Twelve Spotted Skimmer is cool!

    10 June 2007 at 8:08 am

  6. Hey cool to see Jen and Jeremy in action! Sounds like you had a good day!

    10 June 2007 at 8:38 am

  7. @ Laura – thanks and sure was! They just pinch when they bite!
    @ Randy – thanks and they are great subjects to photograph! LOL, the nymphs are very cool looking to me!
    @ Susan – LOL at nymph’s comment! They do have some great books out their but the dragonflies of cape cod has a wonderful website:
    @ Jen – it was a blast! LOL, I also captured many shots of that babe’s hands! Hmm, I better go get a model release from her! Lets do a deal, come down to band birds with me and you will let me use that photo! 🙂
    @ Jayne – that was just at one pond behind RTPI! You should get out and start searching for different species in a pond near you!
    @ Pam – we had a blast!

    10 June 2007 at 10:11 am

  8. Now that’s a great shot with the skimmer and the foreground and people in the distance.
    Y’all do have a good time, don’t cha? Neat.

    10 June 2007 at 10:59 am

  9. For a non-bird, that is one cool insect!

    10 June 2007 at 11:44 am

  10. I find dragonflies very hard to photograph. They rarely sit still enough for me to get a good shot. I love that first pic. I see those 12-spotted ones here in Washington, or something very similar. I’ve followed one around with the camera, but never got the shot. There’s a pretty red one that likes to stop by the pond every now and then. I admire it from afar!

    10 June 2007 at 12:50 pm

  11. I love the first picture. I never really thought about dragonflies before and had no idea there were so many types.

    10 June 2007 at 3:19 pm

  12. After reading your post, Tom, I want to go out and find some dragonflies around here. I carry the “Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies” with me when I go out. It’s pretty small and fits well in a pocket. I was amazed also at all the different kinds of dragonflies there are.

    10 June 2007 at 5:47 pm

  13. @ Cathy – thanks and did love that shot when taking it!
    @ Birdfreak – they sure are! Thanks!
    @ Robin – They are not easy for sure! That’s why many are taken from the hand!
    @ Ruth – thanks and enjoyed it also! They are an easily overlooked family of bugs!
    @ Ruthie – thanks and you should! Stokes is a great guide to start with!

    10 June 2007 at 8:41 pm

  14. Awesome photos and I wish I had something like this to participate in here in Jersey. We finally have a small group that does field trips. I haven’t had time to go on one yet though. Can’t wait to see more.

    What resource did you use to “key” the damsels?

    11 June 2007 at 12:18 pm

  15. Grace

    While you were catching dragonflies, I was at the park *relaxing* (hee, hee) 🙂

    11 June 2007 at 6:36 pm

  16. Excellent shots – I never thought of netting and then photographing them…

    Patrick – Another great resource for damselflies in the upper eastern Atlantic seaboard is Ed Lam’s site, which also has dragonflies and butteflies. If you want something to take with you, I highly recommend picking up his book, Damselflies of the Northeast. You can see a sample of the book – I bought it, and it is fantastic.

    12 June 2007 at 9:35 am

  17. @ Patrick – The same book Marty suggested is one of the best for Dameselflies! Another great book is the Field Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts for $20 at . I would have to believe more states will be doing these in the near future!
    @ Grace – sounds like fun!
    @ Marty – thanks, sometimes having them in the hand is the only way to identify them! You can then release them without any harm!

    12 June 2007 at 11:10 am

  18. Monarch, thanks, I own both books. I just thought there may be some other key I wasn’t aware of.

    13 June 2007 at 1:06 pm

  19. Kim

    Thoroughly enjoyed your dragonfly post – we have many that I photograph and”bond” with at our pond back in the woods – One actually let me pet his wings and will get in front of my camera as I’m photographing a flower. I can sit on our dock and watch their acrobats for hours , today I even photographed them doing the …..”unmentionable”!

    17 August 2008 at 10:15 pm

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