Last year I blogged on the Blue Dasher dragonfly. Last week Blue Dashers were abundant at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Dakota County, Minnesota. Above is a male Blue Dasher from last year. The photograph below, from this year, threw me a bit, because I was unsure what to make of the red cap. Apparently the red is a trait of relatively young males.
Trying to learn to identify dragonflies over the past two years has been an interesting exercise. I have gained some insight into the learning process--repetition, repetition, repetition are the keys. A youthful brain might help too, but there is not much I can do about that. Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) are so variable! Sexes and age classes differ, regional variations, microscopic differences, and females appearing in separate colors or masquerading as males all complicate identification.