23 de abril de 2012

Sawhill/Walden Ponds

Today I decided to swing by Sawhill/Walden Ponds in Boulder, CO, USA, on a whim. People have been posting the first Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum) sightings of the season on co-odes, and I've been waiting for dragonfly season since...well, the end of last year's season.

I wasn't expecting much, but as usual, Sawhill delivered an abundance of interesting wildlife. One my way in I had to pull over to check out a large hawk perched in a tree. Fortunately for my weak raptor identification skills, it soon flew and I was able to take some flight shots clear enough to see later that it was a Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni).

I only saw one, maybe two meadowhawks (almost certainly S. corruptum, but I didn't get a good look), but I did see large numbers of Plains Forktails (Ischnura damula) and more than a few Common Green Darners (Anax junius), including mating pairs of both. 4/22 is apparently an early record for Colorado, according to the folks on CO-odes (who also kindly IDed my Plains Forktails using characteristics too technical for my current skill level).

Also spotted one lone bluet, probably Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile), which flew away before I could get either a good look or a good photo.

Sawhill is a pretty good location for herping, as well. Aside from the odonates, the highlight of this visit for me was definitely the extremely cute (and rather wary) juvenile Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon). I also saw a young Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and two very brightly marked young Western Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta belli).

I'm definitely having fun with my relatively new macro lens--still getting used to being able to get in close to critters, although it is not helping as much with damselflies as I'd hoped (they are very skittish). I will have to practice, and possibly honey-bait, with bees, but these bees were buzzing directly behind my head while I was photographing the mating forktails, so I went for a few opportunistic shots.

Ingresado el 23 de abril de 2012 por mbarton mbarton | 16 observaciones | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario