Friday, September 16, 2011

Who Knows? The Shadow Darner Knows!

I got real luck today while on an Entomology Walk today, spotted a Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa) flying ahead of me on the trail. My first thought was it was just a Green Darner based on my distance from it, but as I got closer there was nothing recognizable to me. It flew into some dead Multifloral Rose and tucked itself in under one of the branches. Rats! I didn’t really say that but I’m trying to keep this tale from going Blue.
            Not wanting it to take off, I decided to approach from the rear. That means crashing through crotch high Multifloral Rose & native Blackberry shrubs. I managed to get into a sweet spot and luckily he changed position, which worked out for me. Was able to pop off about 25 images with 3 really good keepers and a few ok ones.
            At this point I still didn’t know what it was but after my return home my field guide offered some clues. Narrowing it down to Shadow Darner or a Green-stripped Darner, I sent the image off to my favorite website, Bug Guide. Within 30 minutes it was ID as a Shadow, which is the first reporting of a Shadow Darner in Middlesex County for that site. Yeah for me! It just goes to show what one will find in the Great State of New Jersey. 

Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa)

            Just so you know, I use “Field Guide to Dragonflies & Damselflies of New Jersey” by Allen E. Barlow, David M. Golden and Jim Bangma, available here. Well worth the 40 dollar I paid for it.