Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Saffron-winged Meadowhawk

Over the past two years, I sent my Odonata expert Scott King numerous photos, always asking, "Is this a Saffron-winged Meadowhawk?" Scott invariably replied, "No" and explained why my photo was not a Saffron-wing.  If nothing else, I slowly assembled a search image for this dragonfly. Also, when Scott discovered a substantial emergence of this odonate, he e-mailed me the location at the Lake Byllesby Regional Park in nearby Dakota County (30 July 2012).

Despite a tremendous emergence of Band-tailed Meadowhawks (1000s), I photographed this pair of Saffron-winged Meadowhawks precisely to where Scott directed me.  Band and Saffron-winged Meadowhawks are really quite different. Saffrons (male above, female below) lack the wing bands of the Band-taied Meadowhawks. A good identifying mark is the gold leading edges to the wings, although this mark become less evident in older individuals and is somewhat dependent on the angle of the sun.

This species is widespread and usually fairly common across southern Canada south to the northern and central United States. They favor open wetlands where they usually remain fairly low in vegetation or flying low over water (Paulson).

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