Davis Mountains State Park Primitive Area 2019-08-21

While staying in Fort Davis out in west Texas for the Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration, I spent one afternoon looking for odonates along Limpia Creek in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park. (Anyone can visit this primitive area, you just have to ask for the gate code at the park headquarters and let them know when you enter and exit it.) My target species was Painted Damsel simply because they're so beautiful. Despite them being described as common out here, I had not yet found one the last two summers I visited the Davis Mountains area.

Limpia Creek is usually dry but last summer I learned about a spring in the creek bed, and this was what I wanted to find again. From the primitive area's gate I found the dry creek bed and followed it downstream (east). It was about a mile before I finally encountered an isolated pool of water, and it was hopping with odonates! Most interesting to me were at least two male Plateau Dragonlets, a species I've only seen once before.

Plateau Dragonlet - 2

Despite a careful search, I did not see any Painted Damsels, so after about 30 minutes I continued downstream.

In another half mile or so I found a muddy area in the creek bed, and as I followed it further downstream a modest flow of water emerged from the mud. I had found the spring! Damselflies and mosquitos were suddenly common, and I was so engaged with he former I didn't mind the latter (too much). A little further downstream the spring's flow had created more substantial accumulations of water and at the edge of one was a patch of tall grass. I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great if I scanned that grass with my binoculars and found a Painted Damsel?" So I started to scan and a few moments later there it was, a single male Painted Damsel! I took a few initial photos from where I stood, then I crept up to it and took many photos from close range. Here's one of them:

Painted Damsel - 1 - 4

After a few minutes I photographed a nearby Desert Firetail, then tried to find the Painted Damsel again but I could not. This was the only individual I found.

There were some other fun western species, a few of which I did not know I'd seen until I got identification help here from folks like @greglasley. (Thanks, Greg!) In addition to Plateau Dragonlet and Desert Firetail, these included Arroyo Bluet, Mexican Forktail, and Flame Skimmer. Notably absent was Filagree Skimmer.

A lifer butterfly I found was this beautiful skipper, a Golden-headed Scallopwing. The amazing iNaturalist Seek app identified it for me when I pointed the app at my photo on my laptop screen.

Golden-headed Scallopwing - 1 - 1

See my attached observations for photos of the other species mentioned plus a few more.

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, September 02, 2019 20:00

Observations

Photos / Sounds

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What

Wolf Spiders and Allies Superfamily Lycosoidea

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:19 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Black Setwing Dythemis nigrescens

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 03:01 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:20 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Arroyo Bluet Enallagma praevarum

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:17 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Arroyo Bluet Enallagma praevarum

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:19 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Arroyo Bluet Enallagma praevarum

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:25 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

What

Bluets Genus Enallagma

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 03:19 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Teneral Comanche Dancer

Photos / Sounds

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What

Forktails Genus Ischnura

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:18 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Desert Firetail Telebasis salva

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:26 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Desert Firetail Telebasis salva

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:54 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Desert Firetail Telebasis salva

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 03:15 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Eastern Pondhawk Erythemis simplicicollis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:10 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Flame Skimmer Libellula saturata

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:29 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

What

Golden-headed Scallopwing Staphylus ceos

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 03:13 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

What

Painted Damsel Hesperagrion heterodoxum

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:47 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

This was my target species for visiting this spring, and I was so excited to find exactly one male Painted Damsel in tall grass at the water's edge. I've looked for this species the last two summers I've visited the Davis Mountains without finding it. After photographing this individual I lost track of it and could not find it again. And I couldn't find another one.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Plateau Dragonlet Erythrodiplax basifusca

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:09 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Plateau Dragonlet Erythrodiplax basifusca

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:12 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Mexican Forktail Ischnura demorsa

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 03:47 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Roseate Skimmer Orthemis ferruginea

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:31 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Dancers Genus Argia

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:11 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

This individual has a forked shoulder stripe.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Springwater Dancer Argia plana

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:40 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Springwater Dancer Argia plana

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:42 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Twelve-spotted Skimmer Libellula pulchella

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:27 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Photos / Sounds

What

Mosquito Ferns Genus Azolla

Observer

mikaelb

Date

August 21, 2019 02:18 PM CDT

Description

Taken in the primitive area of Davis Mountains State Park near a spring.

Thanks for pointing out the mosquito fern @beschwar !

Tags

Comments

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Beautiful area. In years when the creek is running better (which does happen sometimes!) Painted Damsels and others can be found more easily. DMP is one of my favorite areas of Texas.

Posted by greglasley almost 2 years ago (Flag)

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