Stylurus notatus (Elusive Clubtail)

Stylurus notatus (Elusive Clubtail) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

You would almost never know that Stylurus notatus ranged far and wide across eastern portions of North America. Even the most skilled of us with nets rarely see this dragonfly. Hence its common name: Elusive Clubtail.

So hard is it to get data on this insect that we give it an alternative binomial of “Stylurus no-datus.” Once adults emerge from big rivers, they head skyward toward the tree-tops, returning to the river far from shore (and from us) to hunt. Most evidence of Elusive Clubtail comes from collecting their larvae from rivers or the “skins” they leave behind (exuviae) once they emerge to fly away (from us). But there he was – a newly emerged teneral male, still soft – along the Saskatchewan River in Prince Albert as Dave Halstead and I did some scouting for the annual meeting of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas (DSA), which begins today. It’s the first adult ever seen in the province. Dave was happy. So was I. Another nice northerner (besides Dave) was Ophiogomphus colubrinus (Boreal Snaketail) on the Saskatchewan.

By the way, I wouldn’t call these DSA events “meetings” in the classic, academic sense; we actually meet in lake and bogs and rivers with our nets and cameras. On only one day do we stay indoors and present papers and discuss dragonfly business new and old. (Some of us get a bit cranky inside, and I’m even on the DSA’s executive council.)

I’m also enjoying Black Meadowhawks (Sympetrum danae) – that’s a female pictured below – which I’ve encountered only twice in my home state of Vermont. And, finally, below the meadowhawk is an Aeshna eremita (Lake Darner) striking a nice pose and then a recollection from prairie birding on Monday morning. Nope, I didn’t get photos of Le Conte’s and Nelson’s sparrows, but with this Savannah Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow you get the idea. Onward!

Sympetrum-danae-860x520

Sympetrum danae (Black Meadowhawk) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Aeshna eremita (Lake Darner) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Aeshna eremita (Lake Darner) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

sparrows-860x928

Savannah Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparro / © Bryan Pfeiffer