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MONTEREY ODE MOTHERLODE
Revisited
Rita and I had been wanting to return to Arroyo Seco where we had so much ode success in just a couple of hours on 24 July 2006. There are two small lakes with reedy edges (the westernmost is shown at right) near the very popular Arroyo Seco campground on National Forest land. The Arroyo Seco River runs nearby but we had had no time to check it on our first visit. Dennis Paulson had written that he had found a number of odes that would be new for us (including Sooty & Emma's Dancer) along the river back in the 1970s. So on 5 August we got here early enough to get through the gate (the park fills up with bathers on hot weekends like this one, despite the $5 entrance fee) and we spent 5+ hours around the lakes and along the river. It was not as hot as on 24 July but was still toasty and calm. Dragonfly numbers were down but the variety was still good.
Around the lakes we had more-or-less the same species as before, but missed Desert Firetail, Common Whitetail, and Striped Meadowhawk. We added, however, a pruinose female Western Forktail and Tule Bluet for this list at the lakes:
Spotted Spreadwing 4
Tule Bluet 2
California Dancer 5
Western Forktail 1
Pacific Forktail 10
Common Green Darner 6
Blue-eyed Darner 10
Western Pondhawk 4
Widow Skimmer 15
Flame Skimmer 10
Blue Dasher 30
Cardinal Meadowhawk 10
Black Saddlebags 5
   [and this time actually found 1 perched!]

These 13 species were nice, but it was along the Arroyo Seco River, though, where we found new odes:


As expected, there was an American Rubyspot perched atop a rock in mid-river (above) but also many (25+) Sooty Dancer (above & below) in a very short stretch of river that we checked [I have a good photo of the Rubyspot from another day on the Arroyo Seco, farther downstream]
It was even more exciting to find a lovely violet-bodied Emma's Dancer on a rock in the river (below).
Then we had two new odes (for us) patrolling a short stretch of riffles that separated popular swimming holes. The Red Rock Skimmer (right) was gorgeous, even if a bit smaller than anticipated. It spent most of its time on patrol but would perch occasionally.
Perhaps the most unexpected ode was also patrolling the same stretch of river and, despite almost a hour of observation here, we never saw it land. It disappeared time to time, and perhaps perched somewhere, but we only saw it in flight. Thus, my only shots are flight shots (below). It proved to be Pale-faced Clubskimmer, apparently a first record for Monterey County.
Adding the river to the surveys brought our total ode list for the day to 18 species, and between our two visits we have recorded 21 species at this site. Others must also occur we are aware of records of Black Spreadwing and Giant Darner from here (or near here) and surely Vivid Dancer, so common elsewhere in MTY, must be around somewhere . . .

To top it off, while Rita was taking some video at the western lake, a vagrant male Indigo Bunting came down to drink next to her!

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