06 de junio de 2024

Northern California Odonata Big Day / Jun. 5, 2024

Conditions were good (hot, low wind), and I had a number of things staked out, so I decided to try an ode big day. I picked up Mike Skram at 9, and we headed to Upper Bidwell Park.

First we made a quick stop at Horseshoe Lake, as there is a small population of Black-fronted Forktails here, as well a lot of the common valley odes. Here we had:
Black-fronted Forktail - 3
Western Forktail - 3
Familiar Bluet - 10+
Common Green Darner - 3
Blue-eyed Darner - 1
Common Whitetail - 5
Twelve-spotted Skimmer - 8-10
Widow Skimmer - 2
Black Saddlebags - 4
Blue Dasher - 4

We moved up canyon to the first large swimming hole along the park road. This has consistently been the best spot in the park for odes. There is a lot of exposed rocky shoreline here with a million good perches and some nice rapids at the west end. Located here: 39.771984, -121.775239. At this spot we had:
Sooty Dancer - 2
Emma's Dancer - 2
Vivid Dancer - 2
California Dancer - 2
American Rubyspot - 1
Red Rock Skimmer - 1
Flame Skimmer - 3
Western River Cruiser - 1
Bison Snaketail - 3
White-belted Ringtail - 4

From here we left the valley and headed straight to Cherry Hill between Butte Meadows and Jonesville. Ode diversity is low here, but there are a few specialties that breed here. Here we had:
Vivid Dancer - 8-10
Western Red Damsel - 6
Black Petaltail - 12+

We headed back downslope and took Skyway out of Butte Meadows. We made a quick stop at a small wet meadow here: 40.057504, -121.540891. Despite great conditions and a small exposed pond, all we could manage here was a tandem pair of Western Red Damsels.

In Stirling City, we stopped to check the Mill Pond (39.906096, -121.525352), which has lost a lot of water over the last couple weeks. Here we had:
Boreal Bluet 2+
Boreal/Northern Bluet 100+
Western Red Damsel - 5
Emerald Spreadwing - 30+
Black Spreadwing - 20+
Common Whitetail - 15+
Striped Meadowhawk - 2
Common Green Darner - 8
Blue-eyed Darner - 1
Twelve-spotted Skimmer - 50+

Unfortunately we had to skip Merlo Park, as it is only open Thurs-Sun. This spot would have likely provided a few additional species for the day (Pacific Spiketail, Dot-tailed Whiteface etc.), so instead we just checked the creek where it flows out of the park. Here we had:
Grappletail - 3-4
Boreal/Northern Bluet - 6

We made a quick stop at De Sabla Reservoir before lunch, as this can be a good spot for darners/meadowhawks/beaverpond baskettail, but sadly most of the lake was choked with algae. Virtually no ode activity. All we could manage was:
Flame Skimmer - 1
Blue-eyed Darner - 2
Cardinal Meadowhawk - 1

Our last stop in Butte County was a quick one - Butte College. This is the only consistent spot I know of for Red-veined Meadowhawk, and we had a few other targets as well. Sadly it seems that the Spotted Spreadwings that were here a couple weeks ago have already vanished, but otherwise this was a good stop. We only checked the small pond next to the hay barn, and the bridge over the creek a bit to the west. Here we had:
Black Spreadwing - 20+
Vivid Dancer - 4
Emma's Dancer - 1
American Rubyspot - 1
Western Pondhawk - 1
Blue Dasher - 6
Flame Skimmer - 2
Red-veined Meadowhawk - 2-3
Variegated Meadowhawk - 1
Pacific Clubtail - 1

Me made a mad dash across the valley in hopes that we would not make it to our final destination too late. Luckily the heat kept the odes out through the end of the day! Along Bear Creek/Bear Valley Rd. between Hwy 20 and the Wilbur Springs bridge we had:
California/Aztec Dancer - 4+
Familiar Bluet - 15+
Vivid Dancer - 5+
Desert Forktail 6+
American Rubyspot - 3
Red Rock Skimmer 12+
Flame Skimmer - 100+
Variegated Meadowhawk - 1
Blue Dasher - 15-20
Common Whitetail - 3
Twelve-spotted Skimmer - 4-6
White-belted Ringtail - 2
Gray Sanddragon - 4
Blue-eyed Darner - 3
Common Green Darner - 1

We ended our day at the Bear Creek Swimming Hole along Hwy 16 (about 6:30 PM). After a bit of searching, we were able to find our primary target - Giant Darner!! Despite our late arrival, there were still a good number of odes out. Here we had:
American Rubyspot - 2
Sooty Dancer - 1
Flame Skimmer - 15+
Red Rock Skimmer - 3-4
Twelve-spotted Skimmer - 2
Western River Cruiser - 1
Gray Sanddragon - 2
Common Green Darner - 1
Giant Darner - 2 (including one roosting for the evening in a Redbud. Sadly not able to get photos before it flushed high into a nearby oak)

We did have a couple large swarms of Common Green Darners around sunset on our way back across the valley. A few hundred along Hwy 20 west of Williams, and about 50 at the Colusa Casino gas station.

Our final species count (pending a few ID confirmations/alterations) was 36! A bit surprised to see so few meadowhawks, and especially surprised to not find a single Spot-winged Glider. All but three species (Giant Darner, Gray Sanddragon, Desert Forktail) were seen in Butte County during the day, bringing that total to 33.

Here is our species list for the day

  1. American Rubyspot
  2. Emerald Spreadwing
  3. Black Spreadwing
  4. California Dancer
  5. Emma's Dancer
  6. Sooty Dancer
  7. Vivid Dancer
  8. Boreal Bluet
  9. Familiar Bluet
  10. Desert Forktail
  11. Pacific Forktail
  12. Black-fronted Forktail
  13. Western Forktail
  14. Western Red Damsel
  15. Black Petaltail
  16. Common Green Darner
  17. Giant Darner
  18. Blue-eyed Darner
  19. Grappletail
  20. Pacific Clubtail
  21. Bison Snaketail
  22. White-belted Ringtail
  23. Gray Sanddragon
  24. Western River Cruiser
  25. Variegated Meadowhawk
  26. Cardinal Meadowhawk
  27. Red-veined Meadowhawk
  28. Striped Meadowhawk
  29. Western Pondhawk
  30. Blue Dasher
  31. Common Whitetail
  32. Widow Skimmer
  33. Twelve-spotted Skimmer
  34. Flame Skimmer
  35. Red Rock Skimmer
  36. Black Saddlebags
Publicado el junio 6, 2024 05:21 TARDE por liamhuber liamhuber | 93 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

17 de julio de 2023

Butte Co. 7/10/23 - Butte Creek Canyon, Stirling City Area

Made a couple short stops along Butte Creek, then continued up to Stirling City. Spent a few hours at Clotidle Merlo Park, then headed over to the old Mill Pond and waded around for a while. Finished up at De Sabla Reservoir.

Publicado el julio 17, 2023 02:18 MAÑANA por liamhuber liamhuber | 131 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Butte Co. 7/12/23 - Upper Bidwell Park

Walked around Horseshoe Lake, then visited a couple spots along Big Chico Creek.

Publicado el julio 17, 2023 02:11 MAÑANA por liamhuber liamhuber | 64 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Butte Co. 7/15/23 - Scotts John Creek, Snow Lakes

Spent most of the morning along Scotts John Rd. where thousands of butterflies were present... What a spectacle! Made our way to the Snow Lakes and circled the lower 3 lakes over the course of a couple hours.

Publicado el julio 17, 2023 02:02 MAÑANA por liamhuber liamhuber | 159 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario