July 19, 2024

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Darwin, Me and the White Faced Meadowhawk

What does Darwin a Whitefaced Meadowhawk and myself have in common?  Well, after the week of discoveries I’ve had I kinda know how Darwin must have felt on exploring the Galapagos Islands. OK, I’m not even close to Darwin but I’ve had an amazing week of firsts for me in my little part of the world.  Today’s latest discovery was a incredibly beautiful red dragonfly which turned out to be a White Faced Meadowhawk, Sympetrum obtrusum, also called a Red Skimmer.

Whitefaced Meadowhawk

I have seen all kinds of dragonflies and damselflies over the years but never a red dragonfly.  Couple that with my first ever sighting of a Hummingbird Moth and one nasty looking spider who’s web I stumbled into on Sunday and I’ve been on quite a roll the past week.

After a little research on the Whitefaced Meadowhawk I found out they the male prefers to hang out near grassy areas on shorelines of ponds or other still or slow moving bodies of water waiting for a female, hunting insects or just guarding his territory. I must have seen more than a dozen of them today at the waters edge. You can tell by looking at its head how this dragonfly gets his name.  The fact that they hunt and eat other insects dispelled the notion I had that their adult life was short lived, which would have explained how I could have missed  seeing one all these years, after all there are aquatic insects that hatch, mate and die all in the same day, a sad life indeed!  Another characteristic of the males are the black markings down the length of its long body. Overall the average length of a Red Skimmer is around 1 1/4  inches long.  Each wingtip also has a small dark spot on it.  Your best bet to find the  Meadowhawk is between late Summer through early Fall at the waters edge.  Their distributed throughout the Northern part of the US and Canada and are quite common from what I’ve read.  I’ll be back at the pond today doing my best Darwin impression and if I’m lucky I may just find discovery number 4 for the week, if not I ‘ll at least get a few more photos of my new discovery, the  Whitefaced Meadowhawk.

Enjoy the Outdoors!!