July 10, 2024

Plumas County Odes - July 9, 2024

Incredible day in Plumas County ode hunting with @yubabirder.

We first visited Willow Lake with a few targets in mind. We arrived about 8:45 and stayed almost 5 hours, mostly covering the west and south sides of the lake. Here we had excellent species diversity:
Northern Spreadwing 20+
Emerald Spreadwing 3
California/Aztec Dancer 1 (unable to get decent tail photos)
Vivid Dancer 5+
Taiga Bluet 8-10 (west and south sides) *new for Asher
Boreal Bluet 5+
Northern Bluet 1
Boreal/Northern Bluet 200+
Tule Bluet 2 (west side)
Pacific Forktail 10+
Western Forktail 20+
Sedge Sprite 1,000+ (incredible population density along the south side of the lake, where the bog is sunken and there is much standing water) *new for both of us
Western Red Damsel 30+
Common Green Darner 6-8
Variable Darner 1
Blue-eyed Darner 4-5
Paddle-tailed Darner 6-8 *new for me
Grappletail 2
American Emerald 15-20 most along west side
Hudsonian Whiteface 8-10 (south side) *new for Asher
Dot-tailed Whiteface 25+ (most on south side)
Variegated Meadowhawk 1
Black Meadowhawk 1 (south side) *new for both of us
White-faced Meadowhawk 15-20 (most on west side)
Striped Meadowhawk 5+
Chalk-fronted Corporal 75+ (abundant, especially along north shoreline in forest)
Eight-spotted Skimmer 2
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 12-15
Four-spotted Skimmer 50+
Black Saddlebags 1

We also made a stop to search for Swift Forktails at Deer Creek Meadows in Tehama County on the way home. No luck, but still a decently active spot. Here we had:
Vivid Dancer 30+
Western Forktail 10-15
Pacific Spiketail 1
Grappletail 6-8
Hoary Skimmer 1
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 1
Four-spotted Skimmer 8-10

Posted on July 10, 2024 07:17 AM by liamhuber liamhuber | 204 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 01, 2024

Butte County Odes - June 29, 2024

About half the day spent at Butte Creek House Meadow, where few odes were present (compared to peak numbers at this location). Here we had:
Boreal/Northern Bluet 6-8
Western Forktail 10+
Western Red Damsel 2
Northern Spreadwing 1
Blue-eyed Darner 5
Emerald Sp. 1 (Mountain more likely at this date?)
Variegated Meadowhawk 4
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 4
Four-spotted Skimmer 4

Midday we hit one of our favorite spots, a large vernal pool about a mile north of Snag Lake (40.090971, -121.431283), where we had:
Northern Spreadwing 15+
Emerald Spreadwing 10+
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing 1 (best spot I know of in the county for this species)
Boreal/Northern Bluet 5+
Mountain Emerald 2 (first record in the county since late 90s?)
Variegated Meadowhawk 2+
Striped Meadowhawk 15+ (many newly emerged)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 2
Four-spotted Skimmer 2

Ended at Cherry Hill in the late afternoon. Covered all of the big meadow. Here we had:
Vivid Dancer 10+
Western Red Damsel 2
Black Petaltail 4-5 (likely inactive due to time of day)
Variegated Meadowhawk 2
Cardinal Meadowhawk 1
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 4
Hoary Skimmer 4-5 (known location, but I had only seen one here before. all in the west half of the big meadow)

Posted on July 01, 2024 10:05 PM by liamhuber liamhuber | 23 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Butte County Odes - June 26, 2024

Visiting a section of the county that we (Mike S. and I) have not previously covered for odes! Arrived at Strawberry Campground (Sly Creek Reservoir) some time around 9 AM.

Despite relatively early start at mid elevation, ode activity was already high. Water levels were perfect, exposing most of the large meadow next to the campground. Here we had:
Black Spreadwing 1
Boreal Bluet 2+
Boreal/Northern Bluet 15+
Western Forktail 4-5
Common Green Darner 3
Blue-eyed Darner 5-6
Variegated Meadowhawk 2
Striped Meadowhawk 4
Cardinal Meadowhawk 1
Common Whitetail 2
Eight-spotted Skimmer 2 (rare in the county)
Twleve-spotted Skimmer 15+
Four-spotted Skimmer 15+
Black Saddlebags 2
Wandering Glider 1

From here we made our way around the lake and headed for the South Fork Feather River. Pacific Spiketails were out in force - we had 5-6 hunting clearings along Mooreville Ridge Rd.

Our next stop was Golden Trout Campground - our first time visiting this hidden gem. Really neat set of odes here:
Vivid Dancer 5+
Walker's Darner 1 (2nd this June!)
Grappletail 2
Pacific Spiketail 2
Cardinal Meadowhawk 1
Red Rock Skimmer 4

I didn't really have any stops planned after this, but we happened upon two ponds on the way back that ended up being pretty productive. The first (39.622144, -121.189100) was decently large with a few patches of cattails. Here we had:
Vivid Dancer 5+
Common Green Darner 1
Blue-eyed Darner 1
Western Pondhawk 20+ (perhaps the highest elevation I have had these in the county)
Variegated Meadowhawk 4
Common Whitetail 2
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 3
Four-spotted Skimmer 5+ (perhaps the lowest elevation I have had these in the county)
Flame Skimmer 1

The last pond (39.616380, -121.202939) had a more barren shoreline, and far less activity. Here we had:
Pacific Spiketail 1
Variegated Meadowhawk 3
Common Whitetail 1
Flame Skimmer 1
Spot-winged Glider 15+
Wandering Glider 2+

Posted on July 01, 2024 09:45 PM by liamhuber liamhuber | 39 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 25, 2024

2024 Butte County Summer Montane Bioblitz

For anyone interested - I am hosting an event that I hope to make an annual tradition. Learning more about and contributing to our understanding of local species diversity is reason enough for me be out in the Sierras throughout the summer, but I am also working on a couple field guides that deal heavily with animal and plant species in this region. I would absolutely love to incorporate the community in this effort if possible. This magnificent chunk of Butte County suffers from an agonizing lack of coverage.

Here is the project:

My goal is to document at least 1,000 species over the course of this bioblitz. Here are past observations for the area used in this project: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=204502&subview=map

I would also love to host more local iNat events in the future, and would love to discuss what those might look like with anyone interested.

Tagging here friends and local iNat users that I think may have some interest in participating
@yubabirder @marymuchowski @jonaull @robirwin @suburbanpoison @karmstrong10 @gallandoaks @mrogner @twr61 @kwgeiger @jordanii @thomastaylor1 @colinpryor

Please feel free to share this message with others!

Hope everyone is doing well,

Posted on June 25, 2024 08:00 PM by liamhuber liamhuber | 2 comments | Leave a comment

June 18, 2024

June 14, 2024 Butte County Odes

Joined by Mike Skram and new friend Wen (ode photographer) from China. Leading Wen around the county in search of odes, as every species was new for him.

Started around 9 AM at Horseshoe Lake, where we had:
American Rubyspot 1
Vivid Dancer 5+
Familiar Bluet 15+
Pacific Forktail 3
Common Green Darner 6-8. including a couple tandems
Blue-eyed Darner 1
Variegated Meadowhawk 1. still very few out anywhere
Blue Dasher 5+
Western Pondhawk 2
Common Whitetail 3
Widow Skimmer 2
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 20+
Flame Skimmer 4-5
Black Saddlebags 8-10
Spot-winged Glider 4-6

Made a quick stop down the park road at the "roundabout" swimming hole. Slow compared to normal (perhaps not warm enough yet), but still decently active. Here we had:
American Rubyspot 2
Emma's Dancer 3
Sooty Dancer 4-5
Vivid Dancer 5+
Western Forktail 1
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 2
Flame Skimmer 3-4
Red Rock Skimmer 2. usual spot
Pale-faced Clubskimmer 8-10. usual spot, most I have seen in the county
Black Saddlebags 2
Spot-winged Glider 15-20. first sizeable group of the year for us

From here we headed upslope, straight to Cherry Hill. Here we had:
Vivid Dancer 20+
Western Red Damsel 4
Black Petaltail 25+

From here we took the long way to Stirling City (via Garland Rd) and eventually made it to Merlo Park. Great activity here as usual. We had:
Vivid Dancer 10+
Boreal Bluet 4+
Northern/Boreal Bluet 30+
Pacific Forktail 20+
Western Forktail 10+
Common Green Darner 3
Blue-eyed Darner 2
Walker's Darner 1. early, our first in the county!
Grappletail 4
Pacific Spiketail 1
Blue Dasher 3
Western Pondhawk 1
Common Whitetail 2
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 12-15
Eight-spotted Skimmer 1. rare in the county, first record for the park!
Flame Skimmer 2
Black Saddlebags 2

Instead of visiting the mill pond in Stirling City, we parted ways with Wen and headed down into the valley.

First, we made a quick stop at the Dry Creek bridge on Wheelock Rd. Here we had:
American Rubyspot 1
Common Green Darner 1
Pacific Spiketail 1
Red-veined Meadowhawk 3. only part of the county where they are somewhat regular
Blue Dasher 2
Common Whitetail 1
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 1
Flame Skimmer 2
Spot-winged Glider 5-6

Finally we headed to Dry Creek east of Openshaw Rd. Historically, this has been the only spot in the county for Gray Sanddragon, but we still haven't found one here. Much more active than our visit last year. We had:
American Rubyspot 2
Sooty Dancer 2
Vivid Dancer 20+
Familiar Bluet 2
Common Green Darner 10-12
White-belted Ringtail 2
Western Pondhawk 20+
Blue Dasher 30+
Common Whitetail 6-8
Widow Skimmer 120+
Twelve-spotted Skimmer 50+
Eight-spotted Skimmer 1. rare in the county, surprised to find one so low
Pale-faced Clubskimmer 1. my first in the county away from Big Chico Creek
Black Saddlebags 20+
Spot-winged Glider 10+

Posted on June 18, 2024 12:37 AM by liamhuber liamhuber | 120 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 06, 2024

Northern California Odonata Big Day / Jun. 5, 2024

Conditions were good (hot, low wind), and I had a number of things staked out, so I decided to try an ode big day. I picked up Mike Skram at 9, and we headed to Upper Bidwell Park.

First we made a quick stop at Horseshoe Lake, as there is a small population of Black-fronted Forktails here, as well a lot of the common valley odes. Here we had:
Black-fronted Forktail - 3
Western Forktail - 3
Familiar Bluet - 10+
Common Green Darner - 3
Blue-eyed Darner - 1
Common Whitetail - 5
Twelve-spotted Skimmer - 8-10
Widow Skimmer - 2
Black Saddlebags - 4
Blue Dasher - 4

We moved up canyon to the first large swimming hole along the park road. This has consistently been the best spot in the park for odes. There is a lot of exposed rocky shoreline here with a million good perches and some nice rapids at the west end. Located here: 39.771984, -121.775239. At this spot we had:
Sooty Dancer - 2
Emma's Dancer - 2
Vivid Dancer - 2
California Dancer - 2
American Rubyspot - 1
Red Rock Skimmer - 1
Flame Skimmer - 3
Western River Cruiser - 1
Bison Snaketail - 3
White-belted Ringtail - 4

From here we left the valley and headed straight to Cherry Hill between Butte Meadows and Jonesville. Ode diversity is low here, but there are a few specialties that breed here. Here we had:
Vivid Dancer - 8-10
Western Red Damsel - 6
Black Petaltail - 12+

We headed back downslope and took Skyway out of Butte Meadows. We made a quick stop at a small wet meadow here: 40.057504, -121.540891. Despite great conditions and a small exposed pond, all we could manage here was a tandem pair of Western Red Damsels.

In Stirling City, we stopped to check the Mill Pond (39.906096, -121.525352), which has lost a lot of water over the last couple weeks. Here we had:
Boreal Bluet 2+
Boreal/Northern Bluet 100+
Western Red Damsel - 5
Emerald Spreadwing - 30+
Black Spreadwing - 20+
Common Whitetail - 15+
Striped Meadowhawk - 2
Common Green Darner - 8
Blue-eyed Darner - 1
Twelve-spotted Skimmer - 50+

Unfortunately we had to skip Merlo Park, as it is only open Thurs-Sun. This spot would have likely provided a few additional species for the day (Pacific Spiketail, Dot-tailed Whiteface etc.), so instead we just checked the creek where it flows out of the park. Here we had:
Grappletail - 3-4
Boreal/Northern Bluet - 6

We made a quick stop at De Sabla Reservoir before lunch, as this can be a good spot for darners/meadowhawks/beaverpond baskettail, but sadly most of the lake was choked with algae. Virtually no ode activity. All we could manage was:
Flame Skimmer - 1
Blue-eyed Darner - 2
Cardinal Meadowhawk - 1

Our last stop in Butte County was a quick one - Butte College. This is the only consistent spot I know of for Red-veined Meadowhawk, and we had a few other targets as well. Sadly it seems that the Spotted Spreadwings that were here a couple weeks ago have already vanished, but otherwise this was a good stop. We only checked the small pond next to the hay barn, and the bridge over the creek a bit to the west. Here we had:
Black Spreadwing - 20+
Vivid Dancer - 4
Emma's Dancer - 1
American Rubyspot - 1
Western Pondhawk - 1
Blue Dasher - 6
Flame Skimmer - 2
Red-veined Meadowhawk - 2-3
Variegated Meadowhawk - 1
Pacific Clubtail - 1

Me made a mad dash across the valley in hopes that we would not make it to our final destination too late. Luckily the heat kept the odes out through the end of the day! Along Bear Creek/Bear Valley Rd. between Hwy 20 and the Wilbur Springs bridge we had:
California/Aztec Dancer - 4+
Familiar Bluet - 15+
Vivid Dancer - 5+
Desert Forktail 6+
American Rubyspot - 3
Red Rock Skimmer 12+
Flame Skimmer - 100+
Variegated Meadowhawk - 1
Blue Dasher - 15-20
Common Whitetail - 3
Twelve-spotted Skimmer - 4-6
White-belted Ringtail - 2
Gray Sanddragon - 4
Blue-eyed Darner - 3
Common Green Darner - 1

We ended our day at the Bear Creek Swimming Hole along Hwy 16 (about 6:30 PM). After a bit of searching, we were able to find our primary target - Giant Darner!! Despite our late arrival, there were still a good number of odes out. Here we had:
American Rubyspot - 2
Sooty Dancer - 1
Flame Skimmer - 15+
Red Rock Skimmer - 3-4
Twelve-spotted Skimmer - 2
Western River Cruiser - 1
Gray Sanddragon - 2
Common Green Darner - 1
Giant Darner - 2 (including one roosting for the evening in a Redbud. Sadly not able to get photos before it flushed high into a nearby oak)

We did have a couple large swarms of Common Green Darners around sunset on our way back across the valley. A few hundred along Hwy 20 west of Williams, and about 50 at the Colusa Casino gas station.

Our final species count (pending a few ID confirmations/alterations) was 36! A bit surprised to see so few meadowhawks, and especially surprised to not find a single Spot-winged Glider. All but three species (Giant Darner, Gray Sanddragon, Desert Forktail) were seen in Butte County during the day, bringing that total to 33.

Here is our species list for the day

  1. American Rubyspot
  2. Emerald Spreadwing
  3. Black Spreadwing
  4. California Dancer
  5. Emma's Dancer
  6. Sooty Dancer
  7. Vivid Dancer
  8. Boreal Bluet
  9. Familiar Bluet
  10. Desert Forktail
  11. Pacific Forktail
  12. Black-fronted Forktail
  13. Western Forktail
  14. Western Red Damsel
  15. Black Petaltail
  16. Common Green Darner
  17. Giant Darner
  18. Blue-eyed Darner
  19. Grappletail
  20. Pacific Clubtail
  21. Bison Snaketail
  22. White-belted Ringtail
  23. Gray Sanddragon
  24. Western River Cruiser
  25. Variegated Meadowhawk
  26. Cardinal Meadowhawk
  27. Red-veined Meadowhawk
  28. Striped Meadowhawk
  29. Western Pondhawk
  30. Blue Dasher
  31. Common Whitetail
  32. Widow Skimmer
  33. Twelve-spotted Skimmer
  34. Flame Skimmer
  35. Red Rock Skimmer
  36. Black Saddlebags
Posted on June 06, 2024 05:21 PM by liamhuber liamhuber | 93 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

July 17, 2023

Butte Co. 7/10/23 - Butte Creek Canyon, Stirling City Area

Made a couple short stops along Butte Creek, then continued up to Stirling City. Spent a few hours at Clotidle Merlo Park, then headed over to the old Mill Pond and waded around for a while. Finished up at De Sabla Reservoir.

Posted on July 17, 2023 02:18 AM by liamhuber liamhuber | 131 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Butte Co. 7/12/23 - Upper Bidwell Park

Walked around Horseshoe Lake, then visited a couple spots along Big Chico Creek.

Posted on July 17, 2023 02:11 AM by liamhuber liamhuber | 64 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Butte Co. 7/15/23 - Scotts John Creek, Snow Lakes

Spent most of the morning along Scotts John Rd. where thousands of butterflies were present... What a spectacle! Made our way to the Snow Lakes and circled the lower 3 lakes over the course of a couple hours.

Posted on July 17, 2023 02:02 AM by liamhuber liamhuber | 159 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment


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