The Last Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

After a couple of days in the low single digits, Remembrance Day started out cool but quickly warmed up to a beautiful, sunny 14°C. Warm days in November are rare, so I took advantage of the weather and went out to Hurdman Park for a walk. I was hoping to find a couple of lingering migrants, or perhaps some Bohemian Waxwings or winter finches, and I thought I definitely had a chance of finding one more Autumn Meadowhawk. The nights haven’t been too cold yet, and there haven’t been any heavy overnight frosts, either, so it seemed likely that one or two of these hardy dragonflies might be out enjoying the final warm day of the season.

I was also interested to see what, if any, flowers were still blooming. Along the feeder path I found some yellow Tansy blossoms and some white Yarrow flowers in bloom. Both of these attract a fair number of insects in the summer, but on Tuesday I didn’t see a single one.

Yarrow

Yarrow

A close-up of a different group of flowers:

Yarrow

Yarrow

The woods were quiet, except for a very vocal Pileated Woodpecker flying over. This is only the second one I’ve seen here, so it was a nice treat. A single White-throated Sparrow in the woods and three Common Mergansers on the river were the only migrants I saw.

The warm weather had brought out a number of tiny flies and several Asian Lady Beetles. One landed on my face so I removed it and took its picture:

Asian Lady Beetle

Asian Lady Beetle

I tried looking for meadowhawks in a few different places. It seemed to strange to be looking out over the Rideau River on such a warm day and not see any odes whatsoever. Then I decided to walk under the Transitway to a spot on the river further west. There is a place there with a lot of room to walk around on the river bank, though the tall vegetation at the shoreline blocks the view of the water. Sure enough, I eventually scared up an Autumn Meadowhawk perching on the ground and followed him to where he landed.

Autumn Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

I was both happy and sad to see this meadowhawk….happy because he was still around, extending my ode season; sad, because he was the only one, and although he looks in great shape, I knew he probably wouldn’t be around much longer as the temperature was supposed to drop again. This is almost certainly my last ode in Ottawa for the next six months.

Autumn Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

As I was leaning in close for a photo, he flew toward my face and snapped up a tiny fly buzzing around my head, then retreated with it back to the ground.

Autumn Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

And a picture of the same dragonfly on another perch:

Autumn Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

Eventually I had to leave the meadowhawk and head back to catch the bus. It was a bittersweet parting. Along the way I found an interesting mushroom growing next to the bike path.

Mushroom

Mushroom

I also saw some Queen Anne’s Lace (aka Wild Carrot) still blooming as well as these thistles:

Thistle

Thistle

It was such a beautiful day that I didn’t want to go back to work. I wish there had been more birds and bugs around; although warm days like this in November are a real pleasure, it just makes it that much harder to wait until spring.

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