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Monday, December 22, 2014

Ode at high tide

We took a quick look at a couple of spots around Bodega Harbor near the peak of the 6.5' high tide this morning (that's on the high end of high tides for this area).

I wasn't expecting to see this:

Although I've often seen phoebes taking advantage of insects being flushed by tides in the salt marsh during winter, I think this is a first for me on Bodega Head a December darner!

This dragonfly was actively feeding on smaller insects over the salt marsh vegetation.  It was backlit, so hard to identify at first.  Then I walked around for better light and saw this:

Anax decemberus?  No, just kidding.  This is Anax junius, otherwise known as a Common Green Darner.  But it was fun to play with the name.  Anax junius means "Lord of June," and refers to this species' abundance at that time of year.  It's much easier to see Common Green Darners around the summer solstice than near the winter solstice!

I've heard that Common Green Darners have been observed in Santa Barbara County recently, but I'm not sure how often they're seen in northern California at this time of year.  I'll have to inquire and get back to you.

P.S.  If you're wondering about the title of this post — "ode" is sometimes used as an informal abbreviation for "odonate," the group encompassing dragonflies and damselflies.  [I also had this crazy thought that "Ode at high tide" sounded somewhat similar to "Auld Lang Syne" — perhaps the season is getting to me!]

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