Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In search of Vesper Bluets Enallagma vesperum

An evening with Vesper Blues

Two weeks ago Anne Klingensmith and I took an evening kayak trip to Jennings Pond of Buttermilk Falls State Park. We found some Vesper Bluets (Enallagma vesperum), this was first time I have seen them in Tompkins County in last five years. Weather was very nice that day and they came out around when it sun was just starting to get duller, about 8.00 pm or so. That day there were as many as at least fifty individuals. They were landing on boats and one sat very close to my boat to make me feel terrible for not bringing my camera with me.
So next day, I returned again to Jennings Pond. I was hoping to find them resting in the grasses along the pond. I walked through scrub and marsh along the shores but did not come across any. I tried some other access to the but not sightings of Vesper Bluets. Probably, I was too early for them. I returned home disappointed. I could not go kayaking alone because I can’t get my kayak down from my car on my own. Next few days were either rainy or busy; finally today Anne and I again made a trip to look for Vesper Bluets.
I arrived at 6.30 pm to find Bill and Miranda with kids at the swimming arena. While I waited for Anne to arrive, Bill helped me get my kayak down to the pond. By 7.00 pm Anne arrived and we put our kayak in the water. Till about 7.45 we did not see any Vesper Bluets. We did see many Eastern Forktails- Ischnura verticalis, and many newly emerging damselflies and probably first insect we got was female Vesper Bluet. There were still good numbers of Swamp Spreadwings, staring at us with their lovely blue eyes as we passed them. Anne found some exuviae of probably some Libullelidae, but no Vespers yet. We almost thought that we will start heading out as Anne had to pick her daughter Phoebe from her friend’s place. I suggested that may be we go a wee bit ahead as that was the location where we had seen them in the past trip. As we were passing a small channel, first Vesper Bluet appeared. Soon saw four or five were in the area. By then it was past 7.50 pm. But all disappeared from the sight, they were so quick in flight that if we lost sight in background vegetation it was difficult to relocate them. They were very well camouflaged with the vegetation they were sitting on. It is very difficult to photograph when in kayak or a canoe as it is shaky and hard to maneuver the boat next to insect, though kayak is lot more stable. I finally managed to get a decent shot to prove that we are seeing Vesper Bluets. Later, I got few shots with at some decent distance. Photos are not so very spectacular, but Vesper Bluets can be easily identified! Based on the timing on my pictures, first picture I got was at 7.56 and last was around 8.20 pm.