I got up around 6:00 am and headed out with the dog to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge because there had been reports of Western Grebes there — and I didn’t have any photos of them yet. It was overcast but warm all day, in the 90’s by the afternoon, so it was muggy outside. The good thing about the refuge, though, is that I can travel through the auto-tour part of it in the car with the air conditioner on.
I did see the Grebes which are beautiful long-necked birds with bright red eyes — and some awesome American White Pelicans — but the story of the day was the HUNDREDS of dragonflies that were out all along the driving tour road. In some places they were literally on every tule and plant I saw. There were also dozens of B.A.S’s (big-a$$ spiders) everywhere. I would’ve gotten more and better photos, but for some reason my camera reset itself to some weird picture size mode, so most of the pictures I got were about a third of the size I normally want them. Don’t know how that happened…
When I do the driving tour, I leave the windows open so I can hold the camera out through them… and along the way several of the dragonflies and one damselfly, flew into the car and landed on me or the dog. Hah!
Most of the dragonflies were Meadowhawks. On some of the tules the dragonflies perched on there was also “exuvia”. When the dragonfly nymphs climb out of the water, they shed their skin and emerge as winged dragonflies. The shed skin is the exuvia.
I also came across several Great Egrets that were fishing in the shallow stands of water, and I saw one catch several HUGE dragonfly nymphs… I drove so slowly through the preserve that the 4-mile circle took me about 5 hours…
When I finished the route, I drove straight home… so that was a long day in the car.
Video of a Great Egret stalking dragonfly larvae: https://youtu.be/RoEfUcTuHzU.
Marsh Wren singing: https://youtu.be/Y5Ivw-aXtCo