This morning I walked around Tantra Lake at sunrise and again at 11 in search of one of the thinest birds I have ever seen. I saw it there yesterday but I didn’t have my camera with me and wasn’t able to identify it after an extensive search through my field guides and apps. That thin bird may have been starving or a mutation or, possibly like me, following a very low-carb diet.
In any case it was probably eating elsewhere this morning. But on my late morning walk in the hot sun many dragonflies were flying on the lake, occasionally resting on the stalks of plants growing at the edge.
Dragonflies and damselflies are in the order Odonata, of which about 5,900 species are known. They are insects as beautiful and interesting as butterflies, although much less studied. We have 348 species of dragonflies and damselflies in the Western U.S. and Canada.
Dragonflies are some of the fastest insects in the world and have the finest vision of any insect. They are especially good at identifying movement, which makes them difficult to photograph at close range. But this morning they repeatedly came back to the stalks of three plants, so I plopped myself down next to the stalks and waited.
This is what I saw: