Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dragonflies and butterflies at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

On Tuesday, November 18, I visited the beautiful Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge near the Town of Willows in the Central Valley. An amazing diversity and abundance of migratory waterfowl and other birds, like hawks. But I was most surprised to see 22 male green darner dragonflies, 3 variegated meadowhawk dragonflies, 1 pygmy blue butterfly (Brephidium exilis), 1 alfalfa sulphur butterfly, and 3 checkered skippers. The majority of the darners appeared to be searching for females among the grasses and water plants along a small creek near the refuge headquarters. According to my field notes, the latest sighting of darners in the Central Valley I made in 2006 and 2007 was in late October. Two of the meadowhawks were a mating pair laying eggs in a small pool.

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