Friday, September 14, 2012

No sooner said than done!

Well, even if I say so myself, my post on sorting out the saddlebags was very timely, though I wasn't expecting it to be me that pulled the 'big one' out of the hat! Our regular Friday morning Higbee Beach walk was a little quiet, though we still enjoyed a nice assortment of birds, so it was perhaps not too surprising that attentions wandered onto other things from time to time. In a typical year, there are so many Carolina Saddlebags here that anyone working through them all in the vain hope of finding a Red Saddlebags is either incredibly bored or remarkably single-minded; I was neither this morning, just lucky. The very first saddlebags that caught my attention was hovering absent-mindedly right over my head, giving the perfect opportunity to note the exact shape of its wing markings - a Red Saddlebags for sure!! No photos were possible as the insect whipped backwards and forwards along the trail, so confirmation of this rare occurance was going to be tricky; however, upon our return through the second field a little later, I re-found the same beastie and this time it dropped down and settled in the vegetation. Once again, my lack of a camera was a glaring error and I had to settle for a rather poor effort from my cell phone through the scope. Luckily, help was on hand from others in the group though and I am hoping to have photos from other walk members shortly. For now, here's a couple of phone shots:

Here's the best my phone could do - mmm, wonderful color rendition!!! Leaving that aside, all the 'saddlebag' features and the details of the black abdominal spots can be seen here [photo by Mike Crewe].

Much higher marks for the iphone! Note all the salient features of Red Saddlebags here as mentioned before. In addition, note that the cerci at the tip of the abdomen are much longer than in Carolina Saddlebags, a feature I had not mentioned before [photo by Lisa Ryan].