BOOK: Dragonflies and Damselflies of Oregon

Dragonflies are cool. But they seem to zip by too quickly, and in most cases (for me at least) they don’t pose for photos too often. Unless you’re entomologist Cary Kerst. He has published with birder-turned-dragonflier Steve Gordon an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to become familiar with Odonates of the region, Dragonflies and Damselflies of Oregon: A Field Guide (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2011). The order Odonata includes the suborder Anisoptera, dragonflies, and the suborder Zygoptera, damselflies, and this book describes the 91 species known in the state.

While the descriptions – including size, distribution, habitat, and wonderful photographs of each species – are the bulk of the book and most likely the intended reason one would purchase a copy – personally I find the introduction to be the best part. It includes a very nice life cycle chart as well as another to tell dragonflies apart from damselflies. Also, the various ecoregions of Oregon are described for learning about species distribution, and thirty of “Oregon’s Great Dragonflying Spots” are listed and described. “A great part of dragonflying,” the authors write, “is exploring new places and making your own discoveries.”

I am happy to have this guide on my shelf. Here are some of the few photographs of dragonflies and damselflies I have managed to take in the state, identified using Dragonflies and Damselflies of Oregon: A Field Guide.

Variegated Meadowhawk (female), Tualatin Hills Nature Park, Beaverton, OR

Variegated Meadowhawk (female), Graham Oaks Nature Park, Wilsonville, OR

Common Whitetail (female), Tualatin Hills Nature Park, Beaverton, OR

Vivid Dancer (female), Portland, OR

Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (I think…), Tualatin Hills Nature Park, Beaverton, OR

Pacific Forktail, Tualatin Hills Nature Park, Beaverton, OR

Boreal Bluet, Honeyman State Park, Florence, OR

Damselfly larva, Smith and Bybee Wetlands, Portland, OR

Common Green Darner, found dead in a parking lot in Portland, OR

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