I think I may be in a zone that is really beyond me, but I am going to try to identify the dragonflies and damselflies I have observed in Newfoundland. With "Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East" by Dennis Paulson as my primary resource, I find I am still stumped with many IDs. This book is probably very good for intermediate observers, but as a novice, I find it lacking...particularly with its lack of close-up photos.
It would be more relaxing to sit in my comfortable chair by the fireplace and watch a good movie. It would be more fun to go birding or even to take more pics of dragonflies. Nevertheless, it is what it is, and here I go. There are several classifications of dragonflies in our province. The darner is the largest. It is, also, the only flying species to have blue on its body. Those two descriptors make it easy to determine if the dragonfly is a darner or not.
Beyond that, it is necessary to look more closely at the thorax, the face, the wings, the stigma, the color, the appendages and abdominal tip as well as the regional distribution. Can one do this on the fly? Not me. Even with photos, I am challenged.
The Canada Darner, seen here, is a good place to start. It is characterized by two lateral thoracic stripes. The first stripe closest to the head is notched, and there is a small, extended yellow stripe between the two lateral stripes.
The females can be green and brown or pale blue and brown. The male has a brighter blue and brown combination.
Now, don't let that information fool you into thinking I can actually, with confidence, identify one. Even as I write this, I am flipping back and forth from the book, the text and my photos. Why? Because there are other very similar species found in NL, including the Lake Darner.
I say with some degree of confidence, the first image shown here is a Canada Darner. The others?? Well, I am still sitting on the fence.
After checking my Lake Darner folder, I have extracted these three photos, thinking they might well be Canada Darners. Can you tell how confused I am?
It would have been so nice if my reference had a page dedicated to side views of the similar species to more clearly illustrate the differences.