LRGV Rocket Run - 33 species - 16 May 2009

Upon receiving reports of several really neat "border specialty" Odes being sighted at both Bentsen/Rio Grande Valley State Park and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, I made a late and last minute decision to run down there late Friday night.  I expected to see snakes on the way down to keep me awake, but I only found a handful of roadkilled animals.  Slept on the roadside in northern Hidalgo County until first light, then drove on in to Bentsen.  Arrived at Bentsen at about 7:30 AM and hung around the World Birding Center until about 8:30 waiting for Josh Rose to arrive so that I could visit with him about Ode viewing sites before I set out. 

First Ode of the day was:

this really dull Thornbush Dasher (Micrathyria hagenii)

Arrived at the Resaca sometime around 9:00 AM and started seeing some nice bugs:

Prince Baskettails were cruising over the water (Epitheca princeps)

and then I spotted one fly into the shore and "hang up"

at first it didn't give me too good of a look, but then it flew off and came right back and landed in a different spot

Had lots of Spot-tailed Dashers along the water's edge

(Micrathyria aequalis)

Needham's Skimmers

(Libellula needhami)

Pennants of 3 species

Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida)

Red-tailed Pennants (Brachymesia furcata)

Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)

2 species of Pondhawks

Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa)

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)

Several Clubtails seen all turned out to be

Sulfur-tipped Clubtail (Gomphus militaris)

there were also several setwings - both Checkereds which I was unable to photograph and

Black Setwings (Dythemis nigrescens)

as well as other more common species such as Eastern Amberwings (no photos) and

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

There were also numerous damselflies around

Rambur's Forktails (Ischnura ramburii)

Blue-fronted Dancer (Argia apicalis)

Golden-winged Dancer (Argia rhoadsi)

I also saw Dusky Dancer which I did not photo.

Finally, I went down to a spot recommended by Josh to search for my target species - the Mexican Scarlet-tail.  First bug up, however, was this cool clubtail

Narrow-striped Forceptail (Aphylla protracta)

Then I spotted this LRGV specialty

Caribbean Yellowface (Neoerythromma cultellatum)

And then my target appeared

Mexican Scarlet-tail (Planiplax sanguiniventris)

After shooting 40 or 50 photos of it, I decided to see what else I could find.  Hoped to see the Arch-tipped Glider, but I never saw one.  Decided to hike over to the Resaca on the SE side of the park

The most common bug along the roads away from water were these guys

Great Pondhawks (Erythemis vesiculosa)

But I did spot a nice clubtail

Flag-tailed Spinyleg (Dromogomphus spoliatus)

At the SE Resaca, I found two species of Saddlebags

Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)

Striped Saddlebags (Tramea calverti)

hiked back to the front of the park.  Checked out the canal for threadtails, but only saw

Smoky Rubyspot (Hetaerina titia)

At the WBC, saw a Desert Firetail, and lots of Thornbush Dashers

(Micrathyria hagenii)

and I saw this female Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea)

Before leaving, I spotted a really dull, confusing dragonfly

and it didn't "click" as to what exactly it was until I spotted the male to go with it

Band-winged Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax umbrosa)

Arrived at Santa Ana NWR at about 2:30 PM.  Spotted a nice Pondhawk

Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa)

and other confusing version of the Band-winged Dragonlet

teneral male

but I was there to look for Damselflies

Chalky Spreadwing (Lestes sigma) - teneral male and adult female

and then for the LRGV specialy (at least one of them)

Blue-striped Spreadwing (Lestes tenuatus)

I searched for but never found the Cream-tipped Swamp Damsel.  I did see another species of forktail

Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata)

A storm was threatening, and the winds were picking up, but I started seeing lots of more common odes:

Thornbush Dancer (Micrathyria hagenii)

Band-winged Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax umbrosa)

Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida)

Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea)

I also saw lots of Striped Saddlebags, a Blue-ringed Dancer, and a Familiar Bluet before the rains started and I left for home.