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What’s This? No. 9
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The What’s This? challenge returns after a week of my chasing birds around northern Vermont and New Hampshire. Some of those highlights included two Bicknell’s Thrushes singing off the summit of Vermont’s Mt. Worcester on Monday, June 10, and a Tennessee Warbler singing on Cross Road in Wolcott, Vermont, near the old Center for Northern Studies building on Wednesday, June 5. But now that it’s raining, spend some time figuring out this thing above, shot near College Station, Pennsylvania, on June 12, 2005. Name it and win $5 off any of my outings or workshops.
Added June 12, 2013: We have a winner: Judy Brook (who does have a doctorate in biology, after all) correctly identified this as the abdomen of a Comet Darner (Anax longipes). Comet Darner is a rocket, among the toughest dragonflies to catch here in North America. Net one of these and you’re swinging in the big leagues. I shall not forget my first encounter with this marvel of evolution. We met at a pond in central Pennsylvania. As the comet approached, I clutched my net handle tighter – and began to shake. Honest. I was quaking in my soggy boots. Laughing beside me was Clark Shiffer, a retired state wildlife biologist and skilled odonatist. He knew this feeling well. “It’s like buck fever,” he said. Yep, I had the nervous, hungry excitement of a deer hunter encountering his prey. The darner zoomed in. I swung my net in a grand arc … and missed. Clark chucked. The comet zipped away leaving me a neon red flash in his wake.
Honorable mentions on this one go to Leda Beth, Josh, Alice, Erica, Dan and Ruth for correctly identifying the quiz image as a dragonfly abdomen. Sara Backer submitted her usual gem.