Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
April 15, 2008

A day of first sightings for 2008. I've never had a day when I've seen so many cool things combined with taking so few photographs – I spent much of the day trying to get close to Goatweed Leafwings (Anaea andria). They were jumpy enough that I was occasionally flushing them from 10-15 feet away.

For a list of first sightings of the year, I'll start with the one that felt the most like “summer's coming” -- Common Green Darner (Anax junius)! It's been a long 6 months – my last Missouri dragonfly was a Variegated Meadowhawk last October.

Another first for spring of 2008 was a Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindella sexguttata). And a few new butterflies (and a moth) for the year: Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea), Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme), Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and a Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) moth.

In addition to the easily startled leafwings, other butterfly behavior lead to the low number of photos. Butterflies were continually jumping up to chase other butterflies. At about 5:30 pm, there were several episodes of 5 individuals engaged in chases: a Painted Lady, a Red Admiral, and a Goatweed Leafwing taking turns at the front trailed by 2 unidentified spreadwing skippers.

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