Right on cue, Autumn Meadowhawks have appeared on the scene (see Autumn Meadowhawks, Explore the Wild Journal, September 16-30, 2008). The first one that caught my eye was on October 19 following the rains brought in by a passing cold front. These rather small dragonflies have a red abdomen and yellowish or straw-colored legs (they were formerly known as Yellow-legged Meadowhawks). Although I’ve seen them in May, they’re typically late-season fliers.
The best place to look for Autumn Meadowhawks on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop is on the sunny side of the path along the north side of the Wetlands. They will typically be down low, perched on a low hanging tree leaf or grass stem. They’ve also been seen at the Sailboat Pond in Catch the Wind, perched on the ground or on the wall surrounding the pond.
At least one Green Darner was seen on each of several sunny days during the early part of the period. Most of the Odonate activity has ceased.
Butterflies seen during the period were Orange Sulphur, Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Eastern-tailed Blue, Gulf Fritillary (10/16), Pearl Crescent, American Lady, Common Buckeye, Viceroy, Monarch, Common Checkered-skipper (first of the season 10/19), Clouded Skipper, Fiery Skipper, and Least Skipper.
The number of Cloudless Sulphurs has decreased while I’ve actually seen more Orange Sulphurs during the past few weeks. The stream of Monarchs flowing through the area has gone from a steady trickle to a drip…drip…drip….