Litchfield Co. Connecticut, June 16-17, 2007
After guiding a New York Linnaean Society field trip for dragonflies at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester Co. NY, I drove an hour north to my friend Kristine Wallstrom's cabin on the bank of the Shepaug River in Connecticut. The Shepaug is a lovely little stream with rocky riffles bordered by woods. It is home to beavers and Common Mergansers and a good variety of dragonflies and damselflies.

I had a couple of targets to find on the river, Mustached Clubtail, Gomphus adelphus and a species that is becoming a nemesis, Brook Snaketail, Ophiogomphus aspersus. I have looked for the snaketail on two good streams this year, seeing only a single male that I failed to catch. I arrived at the cabin a bit too late to find dragonflies. It had rained and was very cool but with good weather forecast for the next day I remained hopeful.

Steve Walter, a fine dragonfly and moth enthusiast, was also visiting. After supper he set out his moth lamps and spent the evening checking what was attracted to the light. I stayed up a little while - long enough to see the a spectacular Luna Moth and went to bed. Some moths stayed perched on the cabin walls in the morning so I photographed a few, my selection based on nothing more than how interesting they looked.

The morning was sunny. Ovenbird calls rang out in the woods as we made an early start to look for the Harpoon Clubtail, Gomphus descriptus. We were to look for a cornfield by the Hollenbeck River off of Rte. 63. However we found no corn and all the promising-looking fields were "Posted," private property. We eventually pulled off 63 where Brown Brook crossed under the street and checked along the roadside. A dragonfly suddenly popped up and landed in a bush. Steve got a few pictures of the male Harpoon Clubtail then I netted it. We didn't see any others in the immediate area by the stream crossing. I worked down along the road until I was fortunate enough to spot a female so despite very limited habitat access, I managed to collect a pair.

Steve and Kristine went on to look for some more northern species while I returned to K's cabin to enjoy its access to the Shepaug. As I parked the car I saw what looked to be a snaketail perched on top of a stem. I frantically tried to get out of the car with the net but it was gone. To my greater disappointiment it looked like it might have been a female. I kept rechecking that spot throughout the day without success.

Several Brook Snaketail males perched on the rocks above and below the riffles. They were fairly wary but I managed to catch a couple. I also caught a Maine Snaketail, Ophiogomphus mainensis, darker-patterned than the Brook and confirmed its presence on the river. I only saw a couple of Mustached Clubtails and like the Brook Snaketails, saw only males throughout the day despite extensively searching for females both on and off the water.

Numerous along the banks were both Ebony and River Jewelwings, Calopteryx maculata and aequabilis, Sedge Sprite, Nehalennia irene, and Four-spotted Skimmers, Libellula quadrimaculata. I saw three spiketails, Twin-spotted, Delta-spotted, and Arrowhead, Cordulegaster maculata, diastatops, obliqua, Stream Cruiser, Didymops transversa, and Springtime Darner, Basiaeschna janata. Ashy and Lancet Clubtails, Gomphus lividus and exilis, were along the river edge.There were a few American and Racket-tailed Emeralds, Cordulia shurtleffii and Dorocordulia libera, flying around the river, and a few Hudsonian Whitefaces, Leucorrhinia hudsonica in the garden, adding a distinctly northern flavor.

Thanks to Kristine Wallstrom and Steve Walter for all the great fun and assistance.

Harpoon Clubtail
Shepaug River
Brook Snaketail
Racket-tailed Emerald
Arrowhead Spiketail
Four-spotted Skimmer
Mustached Clubtail
Luna Moth
Hickory Tussock Moth
Small-eyed Sphinx