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Salty Sink Odes

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  • Robert Larsen
    I spent most of Friday (May 26, 2006) looking at the saline sinks in the Lake St. Francis Research Natural Area on the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 28, 2006
      I spent most of Friday (May 26, 2006) looking at the
      saline sinks in the Lake St. Francis Research Natural
      Area on the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
      Each sink seems to have it's own inventory of
      dragonflies and damselflies. The weather was clear
      with temperatures reaching 104 degrees (F.) by mid
      afternoon.

      Sink No. 19:

      Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice) all at
      various stages of maturity and too numerous to count
      about the southern and western edge of the sink.
      Dragonlets noted to be gleaning butterflies, the small
      Western Pygmy Blues, from inland Sea Lavender growing
      about the sink.

      Maral Pennant (Macrodiplas balteata) 4 to 5 males and
      females mostly teneral.

      Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum) 2 females.

      Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) 1 male

      Arroyo Bluet (Enallagma praevarum) too abundant to
      count about the sink.



      Sink No. 20: (about 25' SW of Sink 19)

      Sulpher-tipped Clubtail (Gomphus militaris) large
      numbers emerging from the sink and numbers of tenerals
      on Iodine Bush about the sink.

      Arroyo Bluet (Enallagma praevarum) a large bloom of
      these damselflies over the water in the sink.

      Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea) >100 all
      roosting on Iodine Bushes or perched on the white
      gypsum about the south ane west side of the sink.

      Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum) several
      males and females about the sink.


      Sink N. 25:

      Common Green Darner (Anax junius) several males
      patrolling the edge of the sink.

      Blue-eyed Darner (Rhinoaeschna multicolor) several
      males patrolling teh west side of the sink. One
      tandem pair ovipositing into phragmities on the west
      side of the sink.

      Desert Forktail (Ischnura barberi) large numbers about
      the north and east side of the sink roosting on Salt
      Grass in the shallows. Many in wheel position.

      Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta) several males
      patrolling the rim of the sink.

      Arroyo Bluet(Enallagma praevarum) abundant numbers
      about the sink.



      Lake St. Francis:

      Sulpher-tipped Clubtail (Gomphus militaris) large
      numbers of freshly emerged tenerals all about the sink
      and in the brush. Three Northern Mockingbirds and
      about 15 Western Kingbirds were busily feeding on the
      teneral clubtails on the northwest side of the sink
      where the greatest number of clubtails had emerged.
      The kingbirds would stall over larger bushes and flap
      it's wings unitl it scared up a teneral clubtail then
      take it in midair over the bushes.

      Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice) >200 along
      the south and west side of the sink. The kingbirds
      did not seem to bother with them.

      Swift Setwings (Dythemis velox) >50 along the south
      and western rim of the sink. The Dythemis seem to
      like larger sinks in the area. When Needham described
      the Dythemis larvae in 1904 they were taken form
      Drummond Lake several miles southeast of the refuge
      farm.

      Checkered Setwing (Dythemis fugax) >100 all over the
      water about the rim of the sink with some spectacular
      aerial acrobatics as the Western Kingbirds would try
      and chase down and take the Checkered Setwings. The
      Setwings would fly straight up about 50' when chased
      by the Kingbirds then make all kinds aerial maneuvers
      followed by the kingbirds, then dive again down to the
      water surface. The kingbirds rarely got them.

      Marl Pennant (Macrodiplax balteata) about 20 noted
      roosting in Salt Cedar about the sink.

      Flame Skimmers (Libellula saturata) 3 to 4 males
      patrolling the rim of the sink.

      Common Green Darner (Anax junius) 2 males patrolling
      the rim of the sink.

      Arroyo Bluet (Enallagma praevarum) large numbers about
      the south and west side of the sink in the shallows.
      They were actively pursued by Cliff Swallows just
      before noon.

      Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea) in large
      numbers on vegetation mostly on the south side of the
      sink.

      Amethyst Dancer (Argia pallens) numerous about the
      west and south side of the sink. This is the first
      time I have observed them at a saline sink as they are
      generally found on spring runs and outflow from Lea
      Lake.

      Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) several noted
      patrolling the east side of the sink.

      ------------------------


      Robert Larsen
      Roswell, New Mexico

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