MONTEREY ODE MOTHERLODE
a mini Big Day
24 July 2006, would break all sorts of high temperature records from the
S.F. Bay Area to Monterey. As it happens, this was the morning I took off
work because Rita had a day off and we wanted to try the Arroyo Seco Lakes
— 55 miles and an hour-and-a-half from home — because our efforts to visit
there on a weekend two weeks back had been stymied: the park was full and
they wouldn't let us in. Little did we know it would be over 100 degrees
Fahrenheit by the time we arrived! Even the local Dark-eyed Junco (right)
was panting in the heat. This is a real shot of a panting junco . . . he
went right down to the pond to drink, oblivious to me and to the dozens
of dragonflies there. For we had hit the Ode Motherlode for Monterey County!
A brief 1.5 hour visit produced over 100 individual odonates of 14 species.
Maybe that's not much back East — or even in northeastern California —
but here that is a lot of bugs!
So here's a photo checklist of the odes at Arroyo Seco Lakes
— in reality two small reedy ponds — on a brief visit in hot, humid weather.
Larger versions of the photos will appear elsewhere on this web site in
due course. The counts are actually those made at the smaller, more western
pond, as I ran out of time to survey the larger pond except very briefly
[I had to return to work in the afternoon]. Further, the species and counts
of damsels are likely heavily understated since I spent half my time waiting
for at least one Black Saddlebags to perch — which none ever did!
|Since we had 14 species in the morning, Rita and I stopped briefly
at Laguna Grande Park, Seaside — where it was a balmy 80 degrees
on the coast — after work, as I knew spots some additional species frequented.
Here we had some repeats (e.g., Cardinal Meadowhawk, Common Whitetail,
Western Forktail) but either added these species or upgraded a sighting
to a photograph:
|Had we more time, it would have been easy to add 4 stops for more species
— American Rubyspot Hetaerina americana along the Arroyo Seco River,
two species at a pond near Salinas (Tule Bluet E. carunculatum,
Variegated Meadowhawk S. corruptum), and Carmel (Western Forktail
perparva, Familiar Bluet
E. civile) — all at currently known
locales within the past week. This would have pushed the mini Big Day to
20 species or just over.
These are not very high numbers as odonates go for much of the rest
of America. Doug Aguillard recently found 38 species within San Diego County
in a day, and many places back East it is easy to find 50 in a day, I'm
told. But here in Monterey County — a diverse county but rather dry — we
thought it was a good day. The "official" Monterey County checklist is
only 34 species (and those we did find this date represented nearly half
the county's list), but the checklist needs updating. Three species photographed
above (Spotted Spreadwing, Desert Firetail, Common Whitetail) are not yet
"officially" on the checklist, despite many records. Another 4-6 species
have also likely been recorded but need confirmatory details.
Yet despite all these limitations, it was a lot of fun and there may
be few mini Big Days that are so well documented with photos.
|PHOTOS: All photos are © 2006 Don Roberson; all rights
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