Ode News
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Swamp Darner

Swamp Darner, female, Utopia Park July 27, 2009



Ode News and Reports

I've been unable to keep this page updated and current on a weekly or monthly basis, but, below you can find many very interesting reports from the local area.

Now, often there are ode notes on the bird news page which has become more "nature notes," entries are dotted with local current ode sightings of interest.

Below are some highlights of the last eight years including some 2005 local trip reports by Texperts and way back at the beginning, for 2004, chronicles for most of an entire season with my weekly or so notes on what was out.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


2011 ODE NEWS

The major drought gave a slight reprieve during an El Nino winter of 09-10, actually fall '09 to spring '10, when the faucet shut off again, we went back into major drought, with the Sabinal River not flowing since spring 2011, again.

It seems starting with the great flood of 2002 at Utopia, from 2002 through 2007 were very wet (4 of 5) period years, which broke a 9 year drought. Since 2007 we've been mostly in drought again, the Sabinal River not flowing as often as it is, only an El Nino saved us from complete disaster. These boom and bust hydrologic cycles wreak havoc with ode populations beyond my wildest ideas.

Many species that were abundant or common are simply gone like the water. It has been nearly depressing going out and not seeing what you took for granted being there. I should be out recording the horrendously low numbers, and absence of species, and have been a little, not as well as I should. But I didn't record their abundance with as much detail as I should have either. What seemed normal when we got here and the first 4 years after, has turned out not to be.

Surely larval nymph populations take a big hit as they are crowded into the last waterholes with their predators concentrated at abnormal levels, and less food than usual. Then with gully washers, I don't know how they make it at all.

The drought has one upside to it for odes, as you watch your local populations disappear, the few water holes left become much stronger magnets for any strays, and species moving around. Whereas there would normally be a thousand places for them to go where we couldn't see them, there are few places with water, and we can check some of them.

For example I have had Marl Pennant (Macrodiplax balteata) ovipositing here at the pond at Utopia Park, which never in the prior 8 years have I seen this, only less than annual stray single males has been it.

I also had Blue-eyed Darner (Aeshna multicolor) here for the first time in 8 years, on the Edwards Plateau. That species was on my first web page with odes in CA a decade ago so I have not been overlooking them. There has been a great Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella) invasion into the upper Sabinal drainage this year, probably due to the bit of water it does have.

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Lost Maples SNA, Bandera Co., Sept. 24, 2011



A half dozen at Lost Maples SNA Sept. 24 was a high count for me there (miss it most years there), and I got a docu photo (abv.) for probably a new Bandera county record, though I've seen a couple dozen or more in that county over the last 8 years.

And just a reminder the ode photo pages were redone in 2009 so better organized with fewer poor pix, replaced by lots of better ones. The ode list of local Utopia area species has been updated as well. I've recorded 81 species in the upper Sabinal drainage now, essentially from Lost Maples to Utopia and a couple miles south. I think I'm over 55 species just at Utopia Park, in about 3 acres of ode habitat! That was about equal to the entire Los Angeles County ode list when I left.

Sure glad there were River Cruisers (Macromia) here the first few years, 'cause they've sure been gone the last few. A river to cruise might be helpful?

~ ~ ~ ~

2010 NEWZ ~ see: "drought"
Ode sightings and reports are on bird news page now. Actually there was some rain over winter and spring, but it stopped before summer, as did the river. Ode populations drastically down overall locally. A Cyrano Darner (Nasiaeschna pentacantha) for 3 weeks plus in June patrolling around the lillies in the backwater inlet by the island at the park was the highlight of the year for me. Don't think I got an ID shot, but watched it for weeks, and hours, a very cool beast to have daily for the first time here.

2009 ODE NEWS
Two minor things of interest the first half of the year
here, besides the second year of the drought, which continues
in brutal fashion. Things like Smoky Rubyspot damselflies
that were common are now absent from the valley it seems as
are several other running water species. I photographed
three new Uvalde Co. records though this season.

June 20 at the Uvalde National Fish Hatchery, a Marl Pennant,
(Macrodiplax balteata) which I've seen numbers of over the last
five years, finally one stopped on a stem allowing for pix, to
become the first documented Uvalde county record. Then on
July 27 I stumbled into a female Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros)
at Utopia Park and got some pix for the record.

With Odes the way it works is, no pix, no record, it didn't happen.

Then August 29, 2009 I found a most-wanted dragon I've been
looking for here, first ever Spot-tailed Dasher (Micrathyria aequalis)
in Uvalde County. It was at Cook's slough and Ken Cave got better
pix than mine (one on the dragon photos page), see Ken's great one
on the Uvalde Co. new Ode records page (link below).

There is a new page called Uvalde County Ode NCR's, that I
whipped together just to have a place to toss the pix of
the Uvalde NCR's - new county records. Link below in link box.
It has the 7 species for which my photo docs are the earliest
documentation (first proven date) of the species in Uvalde County,
and notes on a couple other species too. Will do one for
Bandera as well.

2008 ODE NEWS
Best summed up by the word defining our current
climatalogical situation: DROUGHT. You'll have to wade
through the bird news pages for odes news now. SORRY!
There were a few things, but no major breakthroughs.

Also have to wonder how the stocked non-native Rainbow Trout,
a high-end predator is affecting ode populations via predation
on larval nymphs.

2007 ODE NEWS
There were a few newsworthy events this ODE season.
Most significant was FOUR FEET of rain, which scours
the creek and rivers fairly roughly, and undoubtedly
has a negative effect on dragonfly and damselfly
populations. This was obvious at Lost Maples where
the numbers were downright dismal and depressing
compared to the last 3 summers there.

Nearby in Real Co. Tony Gallucci continues to monitor
the highly localized Jade-striped Sylph. He also found the
first ever Edwards Plateau or Hill Country record for
Slough Amberwing there.

Here there were two major ODE events this year, both
at Utopia Park, of course.

First, in May we found a teneral (just emerged) COMET DARNER !!
I had posted to TexOdes (and here) that I saw them ovipositing
(egg laying) here in 2005 when I found a few here and at Uvalde,
the first county records. They take 2 years to mature, living
underwater as a larvae, until they emerge. It was a stroke
of luck to stumble by it at the park, and actually get a
picture of it, surely an offspring from the 2005 event that made it!
Now they just haven't flown to Uvalde Co., they have been
born and raised here! Quite a significant difference.

Then we might get lucky with the same thing again next year,
but with SLOUGH AMBERWING, of which I found a male first,
then a pair, which was also seen ovipositing, in October.
On the heels of Tony G.'s first plateau record, I digiscoped
and finally netted the male for documentary photographs.

And finally, the other fairly big ode news of the year nearby,
was finding numbers of STRAW-COLORED SYLPH at Cook's Slough.
I caught one for a fall Nature Quest group, which we photo'd
in hand, and we saw many others perched. The first one there
was an "accidental what dragon izzat" photo, but now we know
there are indeed many, and they surely are breeding there.
It is a range restricted species that has few known "stake out"
places to look for it.

Quite shortly there will pix of these 3 above-mentioned beasts on the dragonfly photos page.

2006 NEWS

Now that we've covered that... often things are noted
on the bird news page, like butterflies, it's all in
one place if mentioned.  :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2005 NEWS

The biggest event of the 2005 season locally from a dragonfly
standpoint was my discovery of COMET DARNER in Uvalde Co..
The nearest records were from Travis Co., (Austin area)
about 200 miles NE of us here. The first ones I found
were at the Cook's Slough retention ponds in Uvalde, July 27,'05.
Fortunately I got identifiable photos for this remarkable
"known range" extension. There were a couple males there.
Then I found some at the Fish Hatchery in Uvalde, one of
which was seen ovipositing. Then I found some up on the hill
at Utopia Park in Utopia. The Hatchery and Utopia ones were
seen multiple times a couple weeks apart. This was in
July and August, and one couldn't help but wonder if they
were "hurricane displaced" from sites far to the east of us.
(Why have they never occurred within 200 miles before?)
There are 3 original "first encounter" (poor) documentation
photos on the Dragonfly photos page (first 3 images at top).


~ ~ ~ 2005 ~ ~ ~ ~

Following is a series of reports made by Tony Gallucci,
one of the hill countries preiminent naturalists. While
in the area for Nature Quest, he made some local stops,
and posted these results to some public listservs.
I have "hijacked" them as they make appropriate local news.
At the very bottom is a similar report made by Greg Lasley
about odes at Utopia Pk. in early May. These guys are
top notch damselfly experts, unlike me, half-lost on them.
This is what someone who knows what they are doing might see.

- - - - - - - - - -

Notes of Tony Gallucci
April 28 (?), 05
TX: Uvalde Co., FM1050 at Cherry Creek Crossing, scouting

10 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
1 Dot-winged/Stripe-winged Baskettail, Epitheca petechialis/costalis
1 Hyacinth Glider, Miathyria marcella
1 Variegated Meadowhawk, Sympetrum corruptum

10 Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
1 Solitary Sandpiper
20 Mourning Dove
1 Vermilion Flycatcher
4 Verdin
2 Yellow-breasted Chat
1 Varied Bunting

- - - - - - - - - -

TX: Uvalde Co., Utopia City Park, scouting
60 American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
10 Coppery Dancer, Argia cuprea
10 Violet Dancer, Argia fumipennis violacea
6 Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda
2 Powdered Dancer, Argia moesta
12 Blue-ringed Dancer, Argia sedula
30 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
8 Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
2 Familiar Bluet, Enallagma civile
6 Stream Bluet, Enallagma exsulans
8 Desert Firetail, Telebasis salva
1 Citrine Forktail, Ischnura hastata
20 gomphid sp. tenerals
1 leaftail sp., Phyllogomphus sp.
2 Dot-winged/Stripe-winged Baskettail, Epitheca petechialis/costalis
1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax
1 Comanche Skimmer, Libellula comanche
(would be a new early record for state)
4 Eastern Common Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis

- - - - - - - - - -

Seen by others today:
Rainpool Spreadwing, Lestes forficula
Jade Clubtail, Arigomphus submedianus
(NEW COUNTY RECORD by Bob Behrstock)
Russet-tipped Clubtail, Stylurus plagiatus
Eastern Amberwing, Perithemis tenera

- - - - - - - - - -

April 29, 05

TX: Uvalde Co., FM1050 at Cherry Creek Crossing
1 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
6 Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
1 Pronghorn Clubtail, Gomphus graslinellus
1 Dot-winged/Stripe-winged Baskettail, Epitheca petechialis/costalis
1 Filigree Skimmer, Pseudoleon superbus
3 Eastern Common Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis

- - - - - - - - - -

TX: Bandera Co., swale at Las Campanas Ranch gate
20 American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
1 Smoky Rubyspot, Hetaerina titia
10 Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda
4 Blue-ringed Dancer, Argia sedula
1 Aztec Dancer, Argia nahuana
2 Coppery Dancer, Argia cuprea
2 Familiar Bluet, Enallagma civile
10 Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
2 Desert Firetail, Telebasis salva
1 Eastern Common Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis

- - - - - - - - - -

TX: Bandera Co., 1st Sabinal River Crossing on FM 187 South of Vanderpool
12 American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
2 Smoky Rubyspot, Hetaerina titia
30 Coppery Dancer, Argia cuprea
1 Violet Dancer, Argia fumipennis violacea
2 Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda
1 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
1 Stream Bluet, Enallagma exsulans
1 gomphid sp. (?Pronghorn Clubtail)
1 cruiser sp., Macromia sp.
1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax
1 Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis

- - - - - - - - - -

TX: Uvalde Co., Utopia City Park
20 American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
4 Smoky Rubyspot, Hetaerina titia
10 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
20 Violet Dancer, Argia fumipennis violacea
22 Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda
30 Coppery Dancer, Argia cuprea
8 Blue-ringed Dancer, Argia sedula
20 Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
12 Orange Bluet, Enallagma signatum
12 Stream Bluet, Enallagma exsulans
1 gomphid sp.
1 cf. Pronghorn/Plains Clubtail, Gomphus graslinellus/externus
per subsiquent Greg Lasley post, the above was Sulphur-tipped Clubtail
1 Prince Baskettail, Epitheca princeps
2 Dot-winged/Stripe-winged Baskettail, Epitheca petechialis/costalis
1 Swift Setwing, Dythemis velox
4 Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis
1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax

- - - - - - - - - -

April 30, 05
TX: Bandera Co., Sabinal River Crossing off FM 187,
29°40.495’N 99°32.911’W, @ 1046’
6 American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
1 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
1 Neotropical Bluet, Enallagma novaehispaniae
2 Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax

- - - - - - - - - -

Greg Lasley May 7 05 report

Utopia City Park, Utopia, Uvalde Co., 7 May 2005

Hetaerina americana (American Rubyspot) - 5
Argia fumipennis violacea (Violet Dancer) - 2
Argia immunda (Kiowa Dancer) - 10
Argia moesta (Powdered Dancer) - 3
Argia sedula (Blue-ringed Dancer) - 15
Argia translata (Dusky Dancer) - 10
Enallagma basidens (Double-striped Bluet) - 10
Enallagma exsulans (Stream Bluet) - 20


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2004 Ode news and reports

What follows is some near daily notes I made as I was
going along in '04....


Sightings are in my yard (SW Bandera Co.) unless otherwise stated.

Oct. 17 - The Ivory-stripe continues, as does the Varieg. Mdwhk,
a female Flame Skimmer, the Marl Pennant, and the two Tramea,
and Green Darner.

Oct. 16 - As if the male Smoky Rubyspot wasn't enough yesterday,
today I spot in binocs at the top of a mesquite seedling about 16" tall,
Argia cuprea!! Coppery Dancer, male looking at me from 10', in my
dry yard!!! I got the full monty on the thorax color as it flycaught
from its perch. The other big thing for the day was the first
Autumnal (formerly Yellow-legged) Meadowhawk of the fall. Just ahead
of the autumnal equinox, right on time! Also the male Flame Skimmer
and male Varieg. Meadowhawk were seen, as was a male Ivory-striped
Sylph, Swift Setwing, and the two Saddlebags and Green Darner.
Not bad for the yard!

Oct. 15 - Mind blowing was a male Smoky Rubyspot in the front yard!
I had that American here for a couple-three weeks in August....
Protoneura cara still continues at Utopia Pk..

Oct. 12 - photo'd Bluet sps. male in yard.

Oct. 11 - Marl Pennant in yard, chasing with Varieg. Mdwhwk.
This is my first positive Marl here. (Seen it at Ft.Clark Sprgs.)

Oct. 10 - There was Red Rock Skimmer again at Lost Maples, and
Argia cuprea is still ovipositing there. The Varieg. Mdwhk pair
continues on the porch here.

Oct. 9 - Male Flame Skimmer on porch, again!

Oct. 8 - Back out at Uv.Co.Rd. 202 I verified several Ivory-striped
Sylphs at the Nueces River. Also saw Straw-colored Sylph there,
mostly high up on the trees.  Also 5-striped Leaftail still there,
and a couple male Filigree Skimmers were about. A couple folks
rightfully suggested that may have been what I thought was a Black-
winged Dragonlet, years later now, I'd say they are probably right.
The Uvalde Fish Hatchery is odetastic, odestanding, and a must stop
if you are near it! The road on the south side of pond is best.

Oct. 3 - Kathy photo'd I think maybe the first Red Rock Skimmer
for the county at Lost Maples!! Then we came home and she found
ANOTHER one on the wall here, which she also photo'd!! Pix up on
DFLY photo page shortly). Also what was probably an Orange Bluet
got away at the pond, where things are really dying down fast!!

Sept. 29 - pair of Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum)
ovipositing on polished concrete porch. What is likely the same
continued doing this through mid October at least (15th+)!
They were finally photo'd, for a first Bandera Co. record!!

Sept. 22 - male 12-spot (& on 26 & 28th too) and C.Whitetail again.

Sept. 19 - male 12-spot Skimmer IN yard AGAIN! Awesome in flight!

Sept. 17 - Two pairs of 12-spotted Skimmer opivpositing at small SLC
pond. Also 2 Band-winged Dragonlet there, and male Widow on porch.

Sept. 16 - Male Widow Skimmer and Common Whitetail nice on porch!

Sept. 14 - A couple miles south of the town of Sabinal at the first
available Sabinal River crossing, on 369 there were 4-6 Ivory-striped
Sylph (photos on Dfly photos page) at the crossing, besides both
Rubyspots, Comanche Skimmer, and other stuff... great ode stop!
Then I went to Uv.Co. Rd. 202 to the Nueces River 5 mi. SW of Uvalde.
There I saw a Black-winged Dragonlet*, a mega rarity I was unaware,
and only got great close looks through my binocs.

*Edit after the fact: This dragonlet was likely a near-fully
black-winged Filigree Skimmer as I have seen since.....

There were also additional Ivory-striped and Straw-colored Sylph here,
and Leaftails, plus at least 10 species of Damsels I didn't have time
to go through.  Another 5 star Ode stop in season!

Sept. 13 - Flame Skimmer fem. at house/porch. At SLC ponds,
1 Halloween Pennant, 7 12-spot Skmrs, 3 Wandering Glider,
2 Band-winged Dragonlet, and a Blue Dasher. Of course lots
of Saddlebags, Darners, the regular "coots". At Utopia Pk.,
3 dozen Orange-striped Threatdtail (Protoneura cara) continue,
and an Ivory-striped Sylph was there besides the regulars...

Sept. 12 - Twelve-spotted Skimmer male IN yard!! Plus male and fem.
Common Whitetail. 6 more 12-spots were at the SLC big pond.
A probable Jade Clubtail was at the LC crossing on NTCR.

Sept. 11 - a few Orange-striped Threadtail (Protoneura cara)
were still at Utopia Pk. today, including ovipositing pair.

Sept. 10 - Ivory-striped Sylph again seen from the porch!

Sept. 9 - At South Little Creek pond ("the buffalo waller") there
were a dozen (counted) Twelve-spotted Skimmer males! They show
as being new to Bandera Co.! Awesome sight in flight! There were
Neotropical Bluets at Utopia Pk. also....

Sept. 8 - Ivory-striped Sylph landed on Oak out front, but left
when I returned with camera!

Sept. 6 - At Lost Maples about 5 Coppery Dancer (Argia cuprea)
including pair ovipos. in Sab.Riv., were first of season for me.

Sept. 3 - Neon Skimmer and Blue Dasher on porch.

Sept. 1 - A beat worn Band-winged Dragonlet was at the flood pond
(which filled yesterday), first I've seen here in over a month!

Aug. 30 - male American Rubyspot still passes and sits around
porch in afternoon for 15 minutes or so near daily for a month!

Aug. 29 - On a dead Yucca stalk near front door there were
all at once: Great Spreadwing, a Bluet sps. and Roseate Skimmer!
Went to see the sundown bat flight at the Frio Bat Cave,
there were a hundred Dragons swarming over the entrance as
the bats departed feeding on aerial plankton being sucked
out with their departure vortex. About 6 species involved.

Aug. 26 - Russet-tipped Clubtail from porch - nice!

Aug. 25 - male Neon Skimmer always an eye pleaser. Also saw
an Ivory-striped Sylph this date in the front yard.

Aug. 24 - At house, males of Blue Dasher and Common Whitetail.
At Utopia Park the Protoneura cara Threadtails continue ovipos..

Aug. 21 - some sort of Aeshna Mosaic Darner out back - unID'd.

Aug. 20 - nightly swarm still occurring. Mid-day had a
Thornbush Dasher briefly.

Aug. 14 - the female Flame Skimmer (I presume its the same one)
that has been around appeared to oviposit in my bird bath!
The male Am.Rubyspot still cruises the porch every afternoon.

Aug. 11 - Around the house had male Blue Dasher, the Am.Rubyspot
still, and a female Common Whitetail. There has been quite the
ode swarm at sundown. Today I tried to count and ID 'em all.
25+ Black Saddlebags, 15+ Red Saddlebags, 2 Green Darner, plus
10 Wandering and 5 Spot-winged Gliders, couple Roseate Skimmers.

August 5 - The American Rubyspot continues on my porch (week now!).

August 4 - the female Flame Skimmer of two days ago present again.
Also present were about 3 Roseate Skimmers.

August 2 - Had another Flame Skimmer in my yard.

July 31 - Closed out the odeing month with a stop at Ft.Inge
in Uvalde. Saw a Forceptail sps. there, and a hundred at least
Hyacinth Gliders. They are a new Uvalde Co. record, so I photo'd
some live and collected a voucher specimen (see ode photos page).
Purple and yellow is a nice combo!

July 26 - at Utopia Pk there were a dozen Orange-striped
Threadtails still, and a Prince Baskettail. Also probable
Neotropical Bluets were there. An amazing find in my view
was an American Rubyspot on my front porch, 3/4 mile from water!

July 25 - We checked a few Sabinal River x-ings along 187 in
Bandera Co.. At Cornielus Rd x-ing there was Eastern Ringtail,
Leaftail sps., Kiowa and Variable Dancer, Double-striped Bluet,
Smoky & American Rubyspot, Blue-ringed and Dusky Dancer.
At Panther Mtn. Rd. x-ing there was more of all that, plus
a photo'd Dancer sps. I'll have to get pix back to ID.
A huge click beetle (Elatarid) was gray with black dots on
elytra and perhaps 2-2.5" long (huge)! We finsihed the day
with another female Widow Skimmer in our front yard.

July 24 - At Lost Maples at the upper pond (2nd) on Can Creek,
there were at least 2 (probably more) Orange-striped Threadtails
(Protoneura cara) for additional concrete Bandera Co. sightings!
The other odes were the regular expected common stuff...

July 21 - The River Cruiser was again in my yard, amongst a
swarm of Saddlebags and fewer Gliders. At least 50 dragons
swarmed at dusk. There were also 2 Pale-faced Clubskimmers,
Roseate Skimmer, a Spot-winged Glider, several Wandering
Gliders, and dozens of Red, and Black Saddlebags.

July 20 - A Macromia sps. River Cruiser was in my dry front yard!
The nearest creeks (Little and Bravo) are about 3/4 mile away as
the Ode flies. I had not seen Macromia at either of them before.

July 19 - .15 mi. east of S.Little Creek Rd. on 470 there was a
female Comanche Skimmer (where the male had been), a Neon Skimmer,
1 Variable and 2 Kiowa Dancer, a male Green Darner, and Familiar
and Double-striped Bluets. This is a great little "sedgey"
(usually wet) crossing of an unnamed rivulet. At Utopia Park,
many Orange-striped Threadtails and a River Cruiser continue.

July 18 at the Bravo Creek x-ing on N.Thunder Creek Rd. we saw:
2 Widow Skimmer, 2 Green Darner, 3 Checkered & 1 Swift Setwing,
1 Common Whitetail, 1 each Red, and Black Saddlebags, 4 Eastern
Pondhawk, 1 Eastern Ringtail, 1 probable Gray Sanddragon, 20
Familiar and 5 Double-striped Bluet, 2 Variable, 1 Kiowa, and 3
Dusky Dancers. Also one Spot-winged Glider! Not bad for an hour!

July 17 - Kathy and I took the raft upriver from the 356 x-ing
into Bandera Co. waters. We only went a quarter mile, if that.
But I found one Orange-striped Threadtail, for a first county
sight report. There were also Smoky and American Rubyspots,
Rambur's Forktail, Familiar and Double-striped Bluets,
Variable, Dusky, and Powdered Dancers, plus one that looked
like Sooty Dancer. Also Checkered and Swift Setwings,
a Leaftail sps., and one Macromia sps. River Cruiser.

mid-July - I found some different looking damselflies at
Utopia Park. July 16 I collected a voucher specimen, scanned
it, and Ode expert Dennis Paulson was kind enough to ID
them for me, as Orange-striped Threadtail (Protoneura cara).
There are well over a dozen at the site, perhaps 2 dozen.
They are a rare species, and best I could find, unknown
from the Sabinal Drainage. A very exciting find indeed!

July 9 - at our flood pond were 2 Kiowa Dancers, and on
back patio, and male Common Whitetail.

July 7 - At Utopia Park there were: male Rambur's Forktail,
Swift Setwing, and 2 Widow Skimmer amongst the regulars.

July 5 - many dozen Saddlebags are appearing - either migrants
or local emergences. A few Wandering Gliders are amongst them.

July 1-2 - After the big flood of the night of 6/30-7/1 our flood
pond filled up again! 7/1 it had males of Green Darner and Band-winged
Dragonlet, within 6 hours of it filling! Then 7/2 it had Double-
striped Bluet and Blue Dasher!

June 27 - A female widow Skimmer was on my porch, and a Great
Pondhawk was at the mulch pile (a popular spot for odes).

June 25 - A small dragon flew up to me on the porch, quite
unlike any I've seen before. It had "headlights" - two white
spots on front of thorax, and its wings were mayfly shaped.
I'll bet a dollar to a donut it was an Ivory-striped Sylph!

June 21 - Another Four-spotted Pennant at house.

June 20 - At Lost Maples I saw about 20 species of Odes,
all the expected regular common stuff. A couple Leaftails
were nice, as was an unID'd (but photo'd) clubtail sps..

June 19 - Watching a Turkey Vulture up high a dragon flew into
my field of view. It was nearly 100 yards away, and 200'+ up.
It flew directly at me on the porch, losing altitude fast. I
quicly saw the brown bands on amber wings as it approached.
It came to within 20' less than 10' off the ground and dove
at the edge of some live oaks, then climbed up over the house
straight over my head. Recent experience with them in Uvalde
allowed me to ID it easily, a Halloween Pennant! Another
one in the yard, not on the county list! No photos though.

June 16 - Got a Black Setwing in the yard (ph.)!

June 14 - at the house flood pond there was a Great Spreadwing,
a female Flame Skimmer (not on county list), and SEVEN
Thornbush Dashers, a male Citrine Forktail, a Double-striped
Bluet, 3 Band-winged Dragonlet, 1 Wandering Glider, amongst the
regular stuff.

June 13 - Went back up 1/2 mile from home to the Bravo Creek
Crossing again. Saw mostly the same stuff as June 10 except new
were 3 male Widow Skimmers, a Swift Setwing and an Eastern
Amberwing. There were 3 Black Setwiings and photos were had.
Also there was what appeared to be a Spot-winged Glider.
Damsels were plentiful with 25 Familiar Bluets, 6 Citrine
Forktail, 10 Double-striped Bluet, a stunning Great Spreadwing,
and some new different Forktail I photographed.... will post
when ready. Also had a White-striped Longtail while there!

June 12 - We had to go to Uvalde so stopped briefly at Ft. Inge
and saw at least 30 Striped Saddlebags there! Other wise
there was little dragon activity as it was a bit brisk, and
looked like rain coming.

June 11 - Flood pond at house now full - takes at least 6"
of rain in 3 days to fill it. 20' long and 3-6' wide, usually
18" deep for a couple days, then a foot for a couple, then it
drops to a couple inches and half its orignal size the last couple
days before it disappears. Meanwhile the dragons come in to it
like flies! Today in an hour standing there I saw: 2 Band-winged
Dragonlets (good for the yard list), 1 Wandering Glider,
2 Roseate Skimmer, 3 Eastern Pondhawk, 1 Blue Dasher, 1 each Red
and Black Saddlebags, 1 Green Darner, 1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer,
and 3 Thornbush Dasher! I was so inspired when I had to run to
town (Utopia) I checked the Co.Rd. 356 Crossing of the Sabinal
River. Recent research indicates north of the bridge is Bandera Co.,
and south of it is Uvalde Co.. That makes it interesting, eh!?!
I saw there my first Smoky Rubyspot of the year, (see photos of it
on the DFLY photo page). One of the Smoky Rubyspots was downstream
some distance clearly in Uvalde Co.. Also there was a Leaftail that
appeared to be 5-striped (ph.), and some other Gomphid I couldn't ID.
There were a few River Cruisers going by some of which looked
like Bronzed and some looked Illinois. Both moved from Bandera Co.,
south to Uvalde Co., crossing the bridge quite close.
There were at least a dozen American Rubyspots there too.
It is a great place to "Ode"!

June 10 - after 3 days of rain it finally broke open to sun.
Went 1/2 mi. up road to Bravo Creek Crossing on N.T.C.R.
2 Blue Dasher, 4 Eastern Pondhawk, 2 Red Saddlebags, 2 Black
Saddlebags, 1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, 1 Black Setwing (not on
county list), 2 Roseate Skimmer, 1 probable Red-tailed Pennant,
2 Band-winged Dragonlet (5th local site for them), 1 Common
Whitetail, 6 Wandering Glider (pair ovispositing), and my
first local (also not on county list yet) Thornbush Dasher!
There were also Dusky Dancer, Blue-ringed Dancer, Double Striped
Bluet, and Rubyspot sps. there. A great hour needless to say!
Topped it off with an Eastern Tailed Blue photographed on the
way back!

June 7 - Four-spotted Pennant, Checkered Setwing and Prince
Baskettail at house.

June 3 - 3 Black Saddlebags and 2 Checkered Setwing in yard.

May 31 - Utopia Park in Uvalde Co.. There were 10+ Checkered
Setwing, 6 Eastern Pondhawk, 4 Blue Dasher, 1 Gomphid sp (ph.),
2 Dot-winged Baskettail, up stream in the slow backwaters.
Then downstream of the spillway, there was a Swift Setwing,
and a couple River Cruisers of some sort (Illinois or Bronze),
I think Bronzed, and more Checkered Setwings. Also seen were
Dusky and Blue-ringed Dancers.

May 30 - Kathy and I checked the wet crossings along Bandera Co.
Hwy 470 for about 10 miles, including Little and Seco Creeks,
west to the first Hondo Creek access, and several smaller wet
spots between. Three hours ending at 2:30 and 95 degrees.
We saw several interesting things.... At the South Little Creek
ponds were dozens of Band-winged Dragonlets and some Red Saddlebags.
Then out on 470, the seasonal wet spot .15 east of SLC continued
to have a male Comanche Skimmer. The Little Creek crossing on 470
doesn't seem too hot for odes in several checks so far. The Seco
Creek Crossing had Prince and Dot-winged Baskettails, Checkered
Setwings. At a small creek crossing east of the "Seco Pass", was
a little goldmine of a fern lined spot with Widow Skimmer, Common
Whitetail, Checkered Setwing, Eastern Pondhawk, and a bright
male Orange Shadowdragon! Also Familiar Bluet and Dusky and Blue-
ringed Dancer was here. Then about 2 mi east of Seco Pass is the
road to Rio Hondo Rancho which crosses the Hondo Creek. It had
6 Desert Firetails, and either a Desert or Rambur's Forktail,
5 Common Whitetails, 2 Widow Skimmer, 2 Roseate Skimmer, 2 Dot-winged
Baskettail, 3 Eastern Pondhawk, 4 Checkered Setwing, and one
Eastern Amberwing. Not a bad run for southern Bandera Co..
About 15 sps. Dragons, and 7 of Damsels for a 22 total in 3 hrs..

May 29 - At TC there was a male Common Whitetail on my porch!
Roseate Skimmer is regular there..... Also seen were Black
& Red Saddlebags, and a probable Orange Shadowdragon, as well as
a Gomphid of some sort.

May 22
Odeing around utopia, I saw the Black-shouldered Spinylegs
regular at Utopia Pk.. Then in the afternoon in the Thunder
Creek, Little Creek ponds area I saw many Band-winged Dragonlets,
Roseate Skimmers, Red Saddlebags, a Prince Baskettail,
and my first local Amberwing (probably Eastern) on the
S.Little Creek ponds. then on Hwy 470 just east of SLC,
amongst Blue Dashers, Eastern Pondhawk, another Band-
winged Dragonlet was harrassing a Comanche Skimmer (ph.)!

May 19
I ventured off the plateau into the sloughs of Uvalde for
a few hours of Odeing. I saw about 27+ species in 4 hours
at Cook's Slough there. It was astounding world-class
Odeing by any standard. A couple Halloween Pennants were
awesome as were a couple hundred Eastern Amberwings!

Halloween Pennant

Halloween Pennant



May 16-22 at Utopia Pk. I have seen teneral Black-shouldered Spinylegs nearly every day, mostly females. There are also some teneral Gomphids there daily that I haven't ID'd yet.

May 15 at Lost Maples there were about 8 Dragon sps., and 8 Damsel sps. up around the pond on Can Creek. Highlight was a male Widow Skimmer, worth the walk itself!

May 4
Male Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps) at Utopia Park, at the north end of the park patrolling by the island.

May 3
There were a couple Eastern Ringtail (Erpetogomphus designatus) at Utopia Park.

April 27
The South Little Creek ponds had Band-winged Dragonlets (Erythrodiplax umbrata) flying and ID photos were obtained finally. Also there were some Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum), Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta), Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerta), Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata), the Spreadwing we've been seeing there (Archilestes sps.), and Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile). Also Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens was at my house a half (air) mile away.

April 26, 04 at Lost Maples, mostly near the pond area up Can Creek. Green Darner (Anax junius), Springtime Darner Basiaeschna janata), Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus) some unID'd Gomphid sps., Leaftail sps (Phyllogomphoides), Common Whitetail (Libellula lydia), Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata), Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea) Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa), Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerta), Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta) Pale-faced Clubskimmer (Brechmorhoga mendax) for a total of at least 13 species in about an acre!

Pale-faced Club Skimmer

Pale-faced Club Skimmer



I haven't ID'd all the damsels yet, but did see American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana), Dusky Dancer (Argia translata), probably Aztec Dancer (Argia nahuana), beautiful Variable Dancers (Argia fumipennis violacea), Double-striped Bluet (Enallagma basidens), probably Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile) and Fragile Forktail Inchnura posita). When I get photos back and ID'd, I'll make adjustments/additions as needed.

April 3, 04
The following is the post Tony Gallucci made to TEXODES about what he and I saw the day we oded about around Utopia with some minor slight alterations.

With Mitch Heindel in Bandera, Uvalde Cos., 3 April 2004

TX: Bandera Co., marshy roadside off S. Little Creek Road
1/2 mi S of Jct FM470 [2 mi E of Jct TX187]
10 Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
30 Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)
4 Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum)

+ Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
+ Rio Grande Leopard Frog
3 Couch’s Spadefoot Toad
+ Chorus Frog sp.

TX: Bandera Co., marshy roadside off S. Little Creek Road
circa 1 mi S of Jct FM470 [2 mi E of Jct TX187]
12 Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
10 Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)
2 blue Libellulids - (Blue Dashers me thinks - Mitch)
6 Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum)
4 Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)
16 Bluet sp., probably Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile)
4 Double-striped Bluet (Enallagma basidens)
40 cf. Plateau Spreadwings (Lestes cf. alacer)

TX: Bandera Co., Little Creek, off Thunder Creek Road, circa
1/4 mi E of S. Little Creek Road (ca. 1.2 mi S of Jct FM470

Creekbed
1 Springtime Darner (Basiaeshna janata)
2 Baskettail sp., likely Dot-winged Baskettail
(Epitheca petechialis)
2 American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana)

TX: Uvalde Co., Sabinal River, off FM 356, circa 1 mi. W of Jct TX187
1 Baskettail sp., likely Dot-winged Baskettail
(Epitheca petechialis)
6 American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana)

TX: Uvalde Co., Utopia City Park, off TX187, Utopia
3 Baskettail sp., likely Dot-winged (Epitheca petechialis)
1 Springtime Darner (Basiaeshna janata)
1 Gomphid sp., perhaps Eastern Ringtail
(cf. Erpetogomphus designatus)
1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer (Brechmorhoga mendax)
40 American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana)
10 Double-striped Bluet (Enallagma basidens)
1 Neotropical Bluet (Enallagma novaehispaniae)
4 Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita)
2 Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata)
12 Dusky Dancer (Argia translata)
3 Blue-ringed Dancer (Argia sedula)
1 Dancer sp. (Argia sp.)

TX: Bandera Co., Vanderpool, Sabinal River, opposite
crossroads store, 1530CST, 75F
1 Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata)
1 Desert Firetail (Telebasis salva)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So that was nearly a whole season of report for 2004 when I was new and obviously still learning them here. Lots of good dates and data though, IMHO. It is not as if there is any such thing to reference about the odes of the upper Sabinal drainage. The county level "has it been seen once?" tells us little to nothing.
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