Dragonflies are one of the most colorful and fascinating insects in the natural world, so it’s not surprising that there are folks out there who stalk them with the same fervor as birders. A leading dragonfly stalker in California is a woman named Kathy Biggs. She has published a field guide called Common Dragonflies of California, filled with full color, close-up photos of this incredible insect.
So far 118 dragonfly species have been found in California. Shasta County is home to 77 species, the highest count of any county in the state. Siskiyou County is not far behind with 69. Biggs says this high dragonfly count in our part of the state is due to a number of factors that include more water sources and a relative abundance of undeveloped land. Dedicated dragonfly enthusiasts are drawn to the northern part of the state to find species they can’t find elsewhere, like the dragonfly known as the American Emerald which has bright green eyes.
Summer is the peak season for viewing dragonflies – just bring along an insect net, binoculars, and a hand lens for close-up observations. Unlike butterflies and moths that have scales on their wings, the dragonfly can be trapped in a butterfly net and gently lifted out by its wings without causing harm.
Biggs has also written an eGuide, Dragonflies of California and the Greater Southwest A Beginner’s Guide, that can be used on a mobile device like the iPad, Kindle, or a smart phone. In addition, she has created an educational coloring book used equally by kids and adults, Dragonflies of North America: A Color and Learn Book With Activities.
I was graciously given a copy of Common Dragonflies of California for this review and giveaway.
The dragonfly photos featured in this post were taken by Roxanna Tessman. Like her Facebook page, Bird Watching in Oregon, to see more of her stunning photography.
May 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm
I love this species almost entirely for its amazing flight abilities and its prominent role in nearly every dragonfly behavior that fascinates me. It’s not much to look at in the grand scheme of dragonflies, but this baby can fly across oceans, it’s migratory, AND it uses storms to help determine where it travels and when to lay eggs. It is such a strong flier that it is one of the only species known to fly in moderate to heavy rains. That flight ability also makes them extremely difficult to catch. Essentially, this is one bada$$ dragonfly and I love it! Can wait for the season to arrive 😀
May 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm
Do you know the name of the dragonfly you described, Sarah? Sounds awesome! 🙂
May 30, 2013 at 1:56 am
Nice photos. I hope I win a copy of the book. I could use it! Lol.
June 4, 2013 at 9:19 pm
I love dragonflies, they’re so quick and formidable-looking but not as scary as wasps, like friendly ninjas 😉
June 4, 2013 at 9:21 pm
Friendly ninjas … love it!! 🙂
June 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm
It’s the Wandering Glider or Pantala flavescens. Here are some images https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Wandering+Glider+or+Pantala+flavescens&rlz=1C1TSND_enUS412US412&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=vE6vUcSDHoGTiAKZkYDgCg&ved=0CFEQsAQ&biw=1066&bih=488
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