At the event on 7-11-15, our dear and beloved friend, wise naturalist, lover of all nature and The River, Robert Sewell, led our walk down to the American River to show us it’s beauty.
As we meandered down to the river’s edge, Robert urged us to listen to the sounds of nature:
We ended our walk by admiring a Swanson’s Hawk calling from a snag tree across the river.
I went back to SLP yesterday around 11am. The beach was not packed but was busy. I found one dead dragonfly that had fully formed but no doubt was not ready to fly. There was a dog nearby. I showed the dog’s owner the dragonfly and explained what they are doing this time of year. They had no idea and said they would keep an eye out for the dragonfly’s….More importantly, they agreed to keep a leash on their dog….
The dragonfly pictured is a Gomphid and is probably Stylurus olivaceous as we have seen this same species on our "Damsels and Dragons" Dragonfly walk along the river in prior years. A dragonfly in this stage is called a "Teneral" and can usually not fly far and the body is still very soft - in other words "very vulnerable". The reason that Gomphids are having a difficult time in the American river is exemplified by what you have just noticed. Unlike many of the other species of dragonflies, the larva do not climb up a stem or other elevated substrate, but instead emerge low and close to the ground, any change in water level, like a boat wake, will swamp them and doom them, Any disturbance in this "soft teneral state" is usually fatal to them. It is sad to see such a magnificent species subjected to such unnatural challenges :-)