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 forest. Rob Sandelin South Snohomish County at the headwaters of Ricci Creek Sky Valley Environments <http://www.nonprofitpages.com/nica/SVE.htm> Field skills training for student naturalists Floriferous@msn.com
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