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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Glider on the storm?

While at work today, I caught a glimpse of this dragonfly flying around some shrubs.  It caught my eye for a few reasons (1) I'm intrigued by gliders (Pantala spp.) and their long-distance movements; (2) This appeared to be a Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) less common than Spot-winged Gliders on Bodega Head; and (3) I'm not used to seeing gliders on Bodega Head during the spring they're more often observed during the summer/fall.

I only had a couple of minutes...and the dragonfly never landed.  So I have a few flight shots, but most of them are a bit blurry.  I decided to post the images anyway, because these are my first photos of Wandering Glider on Bodega Head.  And because this sighting might have an interesting weather connection!

I feel pretty good about identifying this as a Wandering Glider, but I wish I had a better view.

Its face appeared very pale, especially in contrast to its red eyes:

Although these pictures don't show it well, its abdomen was golden (paler than the abdomen of a Spot-winged Glider):

And its wings looked clear, without dark spots at their bases:

Gliders are sometimes called "rainpool gliders."  They're known for being associated with rain pools left behind after passing fronts.  (The dragonflies will deposit eggs in the water and their larvae will develop and mature in the pools.)  Was this dragonfly a harbinger of rain to come?

The wind started out from the west-northwest in the early part of the day, but began backing to the southwest around noon:

By the end of the day, large clouds were building to the east.  Here's hoping that this Wandering Glider was a precursor to some much-needed precipitation!

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