I didn’t see any Rainbow Bluets near the large rock in the grass, so I made my way along the water’s edge to a small opening about ten or twelve feet away. The usual Eastern Forktails, Powdered Dancers and Stream Bluets were present; then I saw a small damselfly with a yellowish face and thorax and realized I had found my quarry. It was a female, as evidenced by the lack of an entirely blue final segment.
A female Eastern Forktail landed close by, and I couldn’t resist taking her photograph as well.
Then I started seeing more and more Rainbow Bluets flying lazily among the tall vegetation of the riverbank. All of them appeared to be males, with bright orange eyes, yellow legs, and blue-tipped abdomens. I had a ton of fun trying to photograph them before another male came along and chased them off. This one had a couple of mites on the underside of its abdomen, a sight common in both dragonflies and damselflies. A couple of parasitic mites will not adversely affect a dragonfly or damselfly; however in large numbers they can drain enough body fluids from the odonate to weaken it.
This one spent a few moments cleaning its eyes.
I also found a couple of Stream Bluets mating.
I returned again later in the week to spend some more time with the colourful damselflies of Hurdman. This time the wind was stronger, making photography difficult. I managed to capture this one feeding on a tiny moth…
…and another one trying to avoid being blown about by perching on this thick blade.
There seemed to be more Least Skippers present on my second outing. These small black and orange butterflies can be differentiated by the numerous European Skippers by the thick black border on the hindwing.
Odonate populations are constantly changing, and some species that seem well-established one year may be gone the next. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen any Springtime Darners at Hurdman, for example, but it’s nice to know that the Rainbow Bluet population is doing just fine.