Suddenly swarmed

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While waiting for the ferry to get off Lopez Island I took a walk in the new
Upright Head preserve, a project of the San Juan county land trust, which
preserves most of the land above the ferry terminal. I walked into a
clearing and was puzzling over the tree distribution at the edge of a small
clearing when suddenly I was engulfed in a  swarm of largish, blue,
dragonflies. There were perhaps 30 or so of them, impossible to count
accurately as they zoomed all around me. The air was absolutely  filled. I
fruitlessly tried to train my binos on one but gave it up trying to follow
all the dizzying swoops and loops. They seemed not all concerned about me
(typical reaction when you have left your net  in the car) and at one point
I closed my eyes to enjoy the electric buzz of their wings as they zoomed
all around me. I imagined them as my own personal guard of mosquito eaters,
although I saw nary another bug, but clearly they were zigging to catch
something to small for me to notice, and abundant enough to attract so many
eager dragonflies. I sat down hoping I could see one land or at  least slow
down enough that I might get a better look at them, but they all drifted
away, rising higher and higher until they were well over the tops of the
trees and I could see them no more.

On Lopez I did get a good look at a pacific forktail and a cardinal
meadowhawk or 12. Other insects were a sand bee at Spenser spit, lots of
Admiral Lorquins (Ocean spray is abundant on the Island) and a very large
caribid beetle that was in all places, near a tide pool. I wondered about
this, and could not recall ever seeing such a beetle in such a place. It was
in the very upper intertidal in a rocky place, easily within 4 feet of

Rob Sandelin
South Snohomish County at the headwaters of Ricci Creek
Sky Valley Environments  <>
Field skills training for student naturalists

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