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Odonata at Morris Island with Gillian Mastromatteo – July 3

Last Saturday, MFNC members, old and new, joined Gillian Mastromatteo for a walk around Morris Island (predominantly on the railway trail) to view Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies).  We had perfect weather for our first 2021 post lockdown outing. Perfect for us (temperature and very few mosquitoes) but a bit less so for the Odonata (a bit overcast and just past peak emergence).  While it at first seemed less than hopeful, we did get to see 20 species of Odonata including lots of Dragonflies (Skimmers, Baskettails, Clubtails, Pondhawks and a couple of amorous Halloween Pennants).  The Damselflies included some with fun names such names as Dasher, Dancer, Damsel, Bluet, Forktail and Sprite.  It almost sounded like Santa’s reindeers’ names.   Gillian’s full list can be found at https://www.odonatacentral.org/app/#/view/1666000 .  Some selected photos of the trip are also found at the end of this blog.

We also saw about 13 Brown Water snakes sunning themselves on rocks, in trees and on the pathway.  They had been sleeping out of sight and were not seen in an early morning pre-outing walk.  Several different spiders including a large dock spider with nest of babies attracted many of us to have a close look and get some photos.  A couple of monarch butterflies and their caterpillars were seen – only one of the cats was a good size but we are hopeful with the amount of Milkweed that those adults will be laying lots of eggs.  We heard a good number of birds and Gillian’s mentor, Christina Lewis who came along to help out identified many of them for the group.  MFNC members all pitched in with their knowledge to make it a superb all-round nature outing to a location which is apparently equally interesting in any season.   I hope you will take an opportunity to get out for a visit to Morris Island Conservation Area.  Please note that there is limited paid parking available ($6.00 for 4 hours).  Arriving early in the day is recommended.

Thank you once again Gillian and Chris as well.  And thank you Participants.  What a wonderful group of regular and new faces.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet McCullough, MFNC Field Trip Coordinator