Thursday, 5 July 2012

Comet Darners eaten by Purple Martins

My friend and colleague Gregor Beck has a thriving Purple Martin colony on his property near Turkey Point and he snapped a bunch of photos of the parents feeding the young. He mentioned that you can see a dragonfly in a few of the photos so I took a look. We zoomed in on a photo of a male martin trying to feed his young a large darner and I quickly realised it to be a male Comet Darner!

Gregor informed me that there is a pile of dragonfly wings underneath the nesting box and even a few whole dragonflies that didn't get eaten for one reason or another. We went out to take a look and found 3 intact dragons - 2 Swamp Darners, and another Comet Darner (a female)! Our hypothesis is that perhaps the young Martins couldn't quite stuff our largest darner species down their throats as easily as some of our smaller dragons.

Previous to this year Comet Darners were thought to be very rare in the province, but already this year they are turning up all over the place and even in Quebec - a first for the province. This is partly due to more people out looking, but maybe more due to the warm weather we have experienced this year.

You can tell it's a male Comet Darner by the bright red abdomen, red femurs and long legs.
 (above and below photo taken by Gregor Beck )

 This dead female Comet Darner was found under the nest box. Another feature to look for is the lack of any marking on the top of the frons - the top part of the face between the eyes (see below).

Here's a photo of a Carolina Saddlebags I took a few days ago. 

This Edward's Hairstreak was particularly bright with a lot of white highlights. I hadn't seen one like this before. 


  1. You're killing me with all these awesome ode sightings and stories!

  2. Thanks - that's what I'm aiming for! You guys are all killing me with
    tales of Frigatebirds and the like. I haven't chased a bird for a
    while now and need to get back to my roots as a twitcher!