The butterfly conference in Shawnee was a prime viewing opportunity for many natural wonders, not just butterflies. Not one to put on blinders to other species, some of our best and rare finds were stumbled onto during the field trips: Big-headed Tiger Beetle, Velvet ants, rare orchids and several dragonflies of interest.
Late Saturday morning, I popped into Adams Lake Prairie to see what was flying around this unique habitat, well-known for its Edward's Hairstreaks. Most of the regular butterfly species one would normally expect were putting on a good show.
My excitement really peaked when I noted a dragonfly- too big for a Slaty Skimmer, and unique in its coloring. Females and teneral dragonflies tend to have muted colors- and can be difficult to sort out. When in doubt: take a photo, or better yet 4 or 5 or ten, including any and all angles you can get. IDing dragonflies often depend on both lateral and dorsal views and the more clean photos you can get, the better. A good field photo is worth 1000 words- especially to a review committee.
The end results are this interesting dragon with a whitish face, several diognostic dark patches on the wings and lateral stripes. I also noted a swelling along abdominal sections 7 & 8. John Pogacnik identified this photo as female Great Blue Skimmer, a great find indeed for Ohio. Fortunately, the new Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio book by Larry Rosche et al just arrived in my mail- and now I can learn much more about this fantastic flier. This new book is undoubtedly the best thing that could happen for Ohio dragonflying! You'll want to order your copy today-