Far Southern Queens

Yellow Queen Honey from Greenpoint.

To the Honey Festival at Beach 96th and the Boardwalk on the Rockaway Peninsula yesterday, where the beach was swarming with Black Saddlebags dragonflies. Like Monarch butterflies, the Black Saddlebags are migratory. (Until fairly recently, I didn’t know that some dragonfly species migrated. Natural history is an arena of near-infinite surprises.) There were some Monarchs along the beach and nearby, but the Saddlebags out-numbered them by perhaps ten to one. Not a single Saddlebag was seen perching, however, so no photos of the endless fliers. Like birds, dragonfly species have their characteristic behaviors; some fly way more than not, others tend to perch more.This is also a saddlebags, the less common Carolina Saddlebags, Tramea carolina. I saw it at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, where there were more Black Saddlebags and Green Darners and others. Firs time I’ve seen this species.

Among other sights at JBWR were a shy Barn Owl, a White Pelican, in flight (nearly as big as the three presidential chinooks that thuddered by), a distant Hudsonian Godwit, and over a hundred Mute Swans. Merlins and kestrels kept the air pulsing with threat. Also: Palm Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush, Solitary Sandpiper. ‘Tis the season of migration and molting; one late Red-winged Blackbird flew by without any tail feathers, and Northern Shovellers, the long-billed ducks, are back from their northern nesting. A Laughing Gull had a clam clamped onto its foot: what a predicament for both. One of the JBWR Ospreys is being tracked to its winter residence, but others are still around.This snail was higher than I am. Anybody know that small grape-like fruit?

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4 Responses to “Far Southern Queens”


  1. 1 Kevin Dann September 16, 2012 at 9:46 am

    That looks like Virginia Creeper Matt. Thanks for the inspiration to do the bike loop round Jamaica Bay today!

    • 2 mthew September 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

      Thanks, Kevin. That’s what I thought first, then I saw it everywhere and got confused. But of course it does get everywhere, climbing up anything in its path.

  2. 3 Out Walking the Dog September 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Aaagh! That is the vine that is strangling all of our beautiful trumpet vines, butterfly bushes and every other living green thing out here on eastern L.I.! Virginia creeper, eh? Evil, I call it. Wrapping its green fingers around the stalks and flowers and twisting tighter and tighter – so intertwined it’s impossible to untangle – you just have to cut and cut and cut and pull and pull and pull.

    Love the saddlebag creature, though.


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