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Lassen (Warner Valley) Grappletail

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  • Karen DeMello
    This past weekend Jan Hintermeister & I went to the southeast corner of Lassen Volcanic National Park. On Friday (7/29/2005) we took the short 2 mile hike from
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2005
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      This past weekend Jan Hintermeister & I went to the southeast corner of
      Lassen Volcanic National Park. On Friday (7/29/2005) we took the short 2
      mile hike from Drakesbad to Devils Kitchen. We spent quite a bit of time at
      the bridge leading to Devils Kitchen watching the full lifecycle of the
      Grappletail. We saw several adults flying, and also perching on shrubs and
      rocks in the creek. There was a female ovipositing. The highlight was
      watching the end of an emergence on a blade of grass sticking out of the
      stream: the new dragonfly had just emerged, and we waited patiently for its
      glistening wings to pop open. It took 15 or 20 minutes for it to fly off
      into the protection of nearby plants. Then the grand finale: a nymph started
      to climb up the same blade of grass, but it changed its mind and went back
      into the creek, possibly being a bit picky about where to emerge? Or perhaps
      it wasn't quite ready yet. All in all, it was very exciting to witness all
      of these facets of the lifecycle in such a short period of time. We also saw
      Pacific Spiketail and Aeshna sp. (these darn darners never seem to stop
      moving so we couldn't tell what kind it was).

      On the drive to Lassen we stopped at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
      off of I-5 to see what the 6 mile auto loop would be like in the middle of
      summer. We saw hundreds of Variegated Meadowhawks (mostly female),
      Eight-spotted Skimmer, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Black Saddlebags, Common
      Green Darner, and Blue Dasher. At the observation platform around mile 3
      there were dozens of large dark spiders hanging in webbed colonies from the
      trees. It looked like a scene from Arachnophbia!

      We also stopped at Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park 5 miles west of
      Chico. At the boat launch area we saw Widow Skimmer, Black Saddlebags, Blue
      Dasher, a female Western Pondhawk ovipositing, and Jan saw a Pacific
      Forktail while he was sitting in the shade trying not to melt from the
      scorching afternoon heat.

      Karen DeMello
      Mountain View


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