The Damselflies and Dragonflies of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Westchester County, NY

compiled by Steve Walter

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, located in northeastern Westchester County, has earned a reputation as maybe the best single destination in southern New York State for butterflies and Odonates. Although lacking in large lake and river habitats, the assemblage of the small rivers, brooks, ponds, and marsh within the reservation provide breeding habitats for a good variety of Odonata species. The first list of damselflies and dragonflies occurring at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation was published in 1995 by Ken Soltesz. Ken surveyed the reservation extensively, even beyond the typically visited spots, deftly described the habitat preferences of many of the species here, and even lived on the reservation for a time. Since that time, a number of species have been added to the reservation's list, through both wanderers and newly established breeding populations. This effort builds on Ken's work, documenting the new species, updating statuses where applicable, and provides it in a web based format -- certainly a noteworthy change from how things were done in 1995. Within the species accounts, quad(s) refers to areas defined in a grid map of the reservation where the species have been recorded. 

 

River Jewelwing  Calopteryx aequabilis  A species of rivers and small brooks with rocky or gravelly substrates with sunny exposures, at WPRR fairly common along the Cross River north of the Kimberly Bridge. Quads G5, I6. May 25 - June 20.
Ebony Jewelwing  Calopteryx maculata  This is a common species of small rivers and shady brooks. It is abundant on the Cross River and present along Slawson Brook and other small brooks on the reservation. It is commonly seen away from water, as well.  Quads C12, D4, D7, E4, E5, E6, F4, F6, G4, G5, I4, I5, I6. May 21 - September 12.
Spotted Spreadwing  Lestes congener  A late season species of small ponds. At WPRR, it should be looked for at the end of Michigan Road. Quad D7. August 25 - October 23.
Common Spreadwing  Lestes disjunctus australis  A species of vernal ponds. Its current status at WPRR is uncertain. Quad D3. June 16.
Emerald Spreadwing  Lestes dryas  A generally northern species of small ponds and emergent marshes. Not believed to currently inhabit WPRR. Quads D3, D7. June 16 - July 27.
Amber-winged Spreadwing  Lestes eurinus  A local species of vernal pools and fishless ponds. Not currently found at WPRR, but it may establish temporary populations and could turn up again. Quad D3. June 16.
Sweetflag Spreadwing  Lestes forcipatus  A locally common species of vernal ponds and emergent marshes. It should be looked for at the end of Michigan Road. Quads C12, D7. July 19 - October 13.
Slender Spreadwing  Lestes rectangularis  A species of ponds, swamps, marshes, and vegetated stream banks, this is perhaps our most widespread spreadwing. At WPRR, it is often found at the end of Michigan Road. Quads C12, D7, G4, G5. July 19 - October 13.
   
Swamp Spreadwing  Lestes vigilax  This is a species of lakes and large ponds with emergent vegetation. Such habitat does not occur at the reservation, but the species is known to wander. A male individual was found on a slack water spot along the Cross River June 28, 2014. Quad G5.  
Violet Dancer  Argia fumipennis violacea   This common species of small to medium-sized rivers, ponds, and lakes breeds on the Cross and Waccabuc Rivers. It is also seen frequently along the section of Boutonville Road between the two rivers. Quads C4, G5. May 30 - September 9.
Powdered Dancer  Argia moesta   This a species of clear, medium sized to large rivers. It is a common sight throughout the summer on the Cross River, north of the Kimberly Bridge, especially on rocks protruding above the water's surface. Quads D4, E4, F4, G4, G5. June 5 - September 22.
Aurora Damsel  Chromagrion conditum   This species is found around seeps, swamps, emergent marshes, ponds, and vegetated stream banks. At WPRR, it is best around the Michigan Road waters. Quads C9, D7, E7, F4, G5. May 21 - July 6.
Eastern Red Damsel  Amphigrion saucium   This species is associated with sunny, sedgy seeps and wet meadows. Quad E5. June 2 - June 27.
Familiar Bluet  Enallagma civile  A common species of lakes and ponds, but wanders extensively and commonly seen away from water. May be found in meadows throughout WPRR. Quads D4, D7. June 5 - September 24.
Azure Bluet  Enallagma aspersum  A fairly common species preferring fishless ponds. It wanders widely and may establish temporary populations where conditions are right. At WPRR, should be looked for at the small ponds just beyond the entrance booth and the pond near the end of Michigan Road. Quad C4. August 5.
Turquoise Bluet  Enallagma divagans  A species of small to medium sized large rivers and lake shores. At WPRR, should be looked for in years with higher water levels along the Cross River north of the Kimberly Bridge. Quads D7, G5, I5. June 4 - July 2.
Stream Bluet  Enallagma exsulans  A species of medium sized streams to large rivers and lake shores, at WPRR fairly common along the Cross River north of the Kimberly Bridge. Quads D4, G5. June 16 - August 15.
Skimming Bluet  Enallagma geminatum  A common species of lakes, ponds, and slow streams. Quads B4, D3, G5. June 16 - July 31.
Hagen's Bluet  Enallagma hageni  This species is best found at marshy ponds, especially those with tussock sedge. This habitat occurs at WPRR at the end of Michigan Road and the species should be looked for in years with higher water levels. Quads D3, D7. June 16 - June 28.
Orange Bluet  Enallagma signatum  A generally common species of lakes, ponds, and slow streams. Quad D3. June 16.
Citrine Forktail, July 26, 2009. Turquoise Bluet, June17, 2006 Stream Bluet, July 8, 2007
Vesper Bluet  Enallagma vesperum  This species' breeding habitat of lakes and large ponds is not present within WPRR. The lone WPRR record is of an individual found at night, having been attracted to a black light set up for moths August 4, 2007. Quad C6.
Eastern Forktail  Ischnura verticalis  One of the most widespread damselflies of the area, it may be found around ponds, marshes, ditches, wet meadows, swamps, lake shores, and river shores. Quads B4, C4, C9, D7, F10, G5, I4, I6. May 4 - September 11.
Fragile Forktail  Ischnura posita  A common and widespread species, found around ponds, marshes, ditches, wet meadows, and stream banks. Quads C9, D3, D7, G5. May 13 - September 11.
Citrine Forktail  Ischnura hastata  This species favors shallow ponds and marshes with vegetated margins. It is uncommon at WPRR but should be looked for in the grassy areas bordering the marsh at the end of Michigan Road. Quad D7. July 25 - September 24. 
Furtive Forktail  Ischnura prognata  This is a southern species that is exceptionally rare in New York. It is represented at WPRR by a single male collected June 16, 1990 and confirmed by several authorities. Quad G5.
Sphagnum Sprite  Nehalennia gracilis  Current status unknown. A local species of bogs, sphagnum-sedge meadows, and sphagnum regions of vernal ponds. Quads C12, D3. June 16 - July 29.
Sedge Sprite  Nehalennia irene  A species of wet meadows and grassy or sedgy seeps. At WPRR, should be looked for around the marsh at the end of Michigan Road. Quads D3, D7, G5. May 29 - July 18. 
Common Green Darner  Anax junius  The ubiquitous Green Darner may be found in swarms or flushed from fields throughout WPRR. Breeding habitats are any of the still waters in the reservation. Quad D7. Recorded at least through September 24.
Canada Darner  Aeshna canadensis   This pond species is one of the more common mosaic darners at WPRR and elsewhere in Westchester. It is often present in late summer, patrolling the waters at the end of Michigan Road. It may occasionally be found perched. Quad D7. July 26 - October 10.
Lance-tipped Darner  Aeshna constricta   This uncommon pond species was only known from one specimen as of 1996 list. It has since been found with some regularity at the end of Michigan Road, especially in late July. Quad D7. July 25 - September 11.
Black-tipped Darner  Aeshna tuberculifera   Of the mosaic darners known from WPRR, this pond species is the least common. It should be looked for at the end of Michigan Road. Quad D7. July 24 - October 10.
Shadow Darner  Aeshna umbrosa   A fairly common species of ponds, swamps, and streams. Unlike other members of its genus, it prefers woodlands. Feeding individuals may, however, be seen over fields, often flying to near dusk. Quads D7, E7. June 28 - October 21, but scarce before August.
Lance-tipped Darner, July 26, 2008. Shadow Darner, September 6, 2009 Cyrano Darner, June 16, 2007
Green-striped Darner  Aeshna verticalis   An uncommon species of marshes, it can be expected in late summer, in non-drought years, at the end of Michigan Road. Quad D7. July 27 - September 17.
Spatterdock Darner  Rhionaeshna mutata   A species of vegetated ponds, it was not known at WPRR as of 1996. Its occurrence is erratic and probably not annual, but it may turn up in open areas throughout the reservation. Quads D7, I5. June 3 - June 6.
Springtime Darner  Basiaeschna janata   A species of small to large rivers, as well as lake shores. Often seen patrolling the Cross and Waccabuc Rivers, although its rapid flight may not afford good looks. Better looks are possible from occasional perched individuals, particularly in the sand pit near the end of Boutonville Road. Quads C9, D7, G5, G8, I4, I5. May 10 - June 16.
Fawn Darner  Boyeria vinosa   A common species of brooks, streams, and rivers. At WPRR, most easily seen in late summer along the Cross River near the Kimberly Bridge. Quads E6, G5. July 19 - October 13.
Swamp Darner  Epiaeschna heros   This species utilizes swamps, vernal ponds, and seeps for breeding. It is highly migratory and can turn up anywhere -- it is not unusual to see one flying over city streets. Quads C9, D3, D7, F5, G5. May 21 - September 14.   
Harlequin Darner  Gomphaeshna furcillata   This is a species of swamps, emergent marshes, bogs, and fens. It may be seen in continuous flight like other darners, but it is also famous for landing on walls and even people. Quads C9, D3, D7, E7, G5, H5, I5. May 21 - July 2. 
Cyrano Darner  Nasiaeschna pentacantha   This species prefers slow streams, small ponds, and quite bays, particularly with wooded edges. Males are typically seen patrolling endlessly over territory. Individuals are seldom seen at rest. Quads D3, G5, H5, I5. May 26 - July 7. 
Unicorn Clubtail  Arigomphus villosepes  This species breeds at ponds and is typically seen at the water's edge. It should be looked for at both the pond and marsh at the end of Michigan Road. June 5 - July 30. Quads D6, D7. 
Lancet Clubtail  Gomphus exilis  This species may breed in lakes, ponds, and streams. It is very common at WPPR. It is seen primarily on the Cross and Waccabuc Rivers, and in between along Boutonville Road. A few can also be found at the Michigan Road waters. Quads C4, D7, E7, F5, G5, I4, I6. May 26 - July 7. 
Maine Snaketail, June 16, 2007 Southern Pygmy Clubtail, June 18, 2005 Black-shouldered Spinyleg, July 30, 2006
Ashy Clubtail  Gomphus lividus  This is a common to abundant species at WPRR. It breeds on the Cross River, but is commonly found along Boutonville Road. Quad G5, I4, I5, I6. May 20 - July 3. 
Black-shouldered Spinyleg  Dromogomphus spinosus  This large clubtail breeds on medium to large rivers and large lakes. These habitats don't occur on the reservation, but do occur just outside and the species wanders regularly into the reservation. Sightings may occur virtually anywhere within WPRR. May 30 - August 13 (September 9 just outside WPRR). Quads D7, E6.
Dragonhunter  Hagenius brevistylus  This is the largest of the clubtails, with a preference for small to medium sized rivers. It is never numerous but always present throughout the summer at WPRR. It is most often seen along the Cross River, but may turn up in open areas anywhere in the reservation. Quads D7, E4, F4, G4, G5, H5. June 4 - August 25.
Southern Pygmy Clubtail  Lanthus vernalis  This is a species of small, perennial, cold-water brooks, and  forest rivulets. At WPRR, it is found primarily along Slawson Brook, from where it occasionally wanders to the area around the Trailside Museum. Quads E5 (nymphs), F5, D6, D7. May 28 - June 25. 
Maine Snaketail  Ophiogomphus mainensis  This lover of riffly rivers is a signature species of the Cross River during June. Males typically sit on rocks in the river. Individuals may also be found on vegetation along the banks or in overhanging trees. Females are less often seen but have been found in nearby fields. May 25 - July 8. Quads E4, F4, F5, G5.
Least Clubtail  Stylogomphus albistylus  This is a species of riffly rivers and brooks. A few individuals are usually present in mid-summer on the Cross River north of the Kimberly Bridge, with males sitting conspicuously on rocks in the river. June 8 - August 17. Quads C4, E4, F4, G5.
Zebra Clubtail  Stylurus scudderi  This species breeds on medium sized, forest-bordered rivers, especially with sandy substrates. Its range is primarily well north of the reservation. A disjunct population formerly occurred on the Cross River. The species has not been seen here since 1990. July 27 - August 7. Quad G5.
Delta-spotted Spiketail  Cordulegaster diastatops  This is the most common of the spiketails at WPRR. Breeding habitats include sunny seeps, rivulets in wet meadows, and small sunny brooks. It is best found on Slawson Brook and the Cross River, but is frequently seen in meadows throughout the reservation. May 30 - July 7. Quads E5, E6, F5, G5, H5.
Tiger Spiketail  Cordulegaster erronea  This species is associated with spring runs or small perennial spring-fed cold water brooks. At WPRR, almost all sightings are of individuals patrolling Slawson Brook. July 11 - August 4. Quads E6, F6.
Twin-spotted Spiketail  Cordulegaster maculata  Small to large rivers are the habitat of this spiketail. It can be looked for on Slawson Brook and the Cross River, seldom being encountered away from water. May 30 - June 29. Quads E5, E6, G5.
Arrowhead Spiketail  Cordulegaster obliqua  This species was not recorded by Soltesz. It was first discovered at WPRR in 2004 and has been annual since. It breeds on small forest brooks and can be seen patrolling the stream near the end of Michigan Road. It may also turn up elsewhere in the reservation, away from the breeding water. May 30 - July 26. Unconfirmed to August 1. Quads D7, E5, H5.
Stream Cruiser  Didymops transversa  This is a fairly common species of small to medium sized rivers. It is easily found patrolling the Cross River north of the Kimberly Bridge and the Waccabuc River at the east end of Boutonville Road. It may also be encountered away from water. May 4 - June 13. Quads E10, F10, G5, G8, G9, I5, I6.
Illinois River Cruiser  Macromia illinoiensis  An uncommon species of rivers and large lakes, with only two records for WPRR, and in fact Westchester County. The first was netted from a small swarm of dragonflies in a woodland clearing at the end of Michigan Road, photographed, and released August 3, 2003. A second individual was photographed by Clarence Holmes near the Meadow parking area July 21, 2007. Quads D4, D7.
Tiger Spiketail, July 30, 2006. Illinois River Cruiser, August 3, 2003. Mocha Emerald, August 4, 2007. 
Mocha Emerald  Somatochlora linearis  This species breeds on small, shaded streams. The first WPRR record was a female, netted from the same swarm as the Illinois River Cruiser August 3, 2003. It was photographed and released. A male was found patrolling possible breeding habitat and photographed at rest alongside Slawson Brook August 4, 2007. A pair of emeralds, including an ovipositing female, thought to be this species were observed on the woodland brook at Michigan Road August 1, 2015. Quads D7, F7.
Clamp-tipped Emerald  Somatochlora tenebrosa  This is the common emerald of the reservation. Its breeding habitats include muddy brooks, headwater seeps, and spring runs. It is mostly seen away from water, often in small feeding swarms. The best areas to look for this are in the meadow adjacent to the Meadow parking lot and the fields at the end of Michigan Road. July 2 - September 2. Quads C6, D4, D7, E5, F4. 
Brush-tipped Emerald  Somatochlora walshii  This species prefers marshy brooks and emergent marshes. It was first found at WPRR July 28, 1996 and is most likely of annual occurrence now. Although possibly seen elsewhere on the reservation, all definite sightings have been over the meadows at the end of Michigan Road. July 8 - July 28. Quad D7.
Racket-tailed Emerald  Dorocordulia libera  This species is best found at marshy ponds, especially those with tussock sedge. This habitat occurs at WPRR at the end of Michigan Road and the species should be looked for in years with higher water levels. May 30 - July 2. Quad D7.
Common Baskettail  Epitheca cynosura  One of the most abundant dragonflies at WPRR, it is typically seen in flight over open areas throughout the reservation, often in large swarms. It utilizes ponds and slow streams for breeding.  May 20 - July 3. Quads C4, C5, D7, F5, G5, I4, I5. 
Prince Baskettail  Epitheca princeps  This species is a very common sight in the skies over WPRR, often far above the ground. It is almost never seen at rest. Breeding habitats include lakes and rivers. May 26 - July 31. Recorded just outside the reservation August 16. Quads D4, D7, G5. 
Calico Pennant  Celithemis elisa  This species breeds in marshy ponds, but WPRR sightings are mainly away from water. This colorful insect is a common sight in meadows throughout the reservation, typically perched at the tips of grasses. May 30 - September 9. Quads D4, D7, F5, H5, I5. 
Halloween Pennant  Celithemis eponina  This species' habitats are similar to the Calico Pennant, but this one is typically more numerous at the reservation. June 2 - September 9. Quads B4, D4, D7, E5, G5, H5, I5.
Eastern Pondhawk  Erythemis simplicicollis  This is a species of lakes, ponds, and marshes. It may be seen at the water's edge or in meadows, mainly in the Michigan Road area. May 26 - September 2. Quad D7.
Chalk-fronted Corporal  Ladona julia  This is an abundant pond species to the north of WPRR and in higher elevations, but seldom encountered at the reservation. May 30 - June 25. Quads D7, E7, I6.
Frosted Whiteface  Leucorrhinia frigida  This species breeds in marshy ponds, and especially with tussock sedge, such as the marsh at the end of Michigan Road. The species is never common at WPRR and less than annual, but it should be looked for in years with high water. May 30 - June 21. Quad D7.
Dot-tailed Whiteface  Leucorrhinia intacta  This is a pond species. It can often be found at the pond and marsh near the end of Michigan Road. May 5 - July 3. Quad D7, D10.
Red-waisted Whiteface  Leucorrhinia proxima  This is a northern species, first found at WPRR in 2007. Several were found in the marsh at the end of Michigan Road in 2011, where it may be confused with the very similar Frosted Whiteface. June 15 - July 2. Quad D7.
Bar-winged Skimmer  Libellula axilena  This is a southern species of vernal ponds and fishless, marshy ponds. It is absent from New York State in most years, but occasionally irrupts northward. 1995 was one such year and the species was seen in the marsh at the end of Michigan Road from June 4 to July 29 (same individual?). Quad D7.
Spangled Skimmer  Libellula cyanea  This species breeds in ponds and marshes. A common sight at WPRR, it may also be found in meadows. May 26 to July 31 (probably later). Quads B4, D7.
Slaty Skimmer  Libellula incesta  This is a species of lakes and larger ponds, habitats that are not featured at WPRR. It may be found, however, at the pond near the end of Michigan Road in years with higher water levels. June 5 to September 6. Quads B4, D7.
Widow Skimmer  Libellula luctuosa  This is a species of ponds, lakes, and slow streams. It is a very common sight in meadows throughout WPRR. June 4 to October 5. Quads B4, C4, D7, E5, F5, G5.
Twelve-spotted Skimmer  Libellula pulchella  This is a highly migratory dragonfly that breeds at ponds and marshes. At WPRR, it is best found at the pond near the end of Michigan Road, where it perches conspicuously on pond side bushes. May 30 - September 12. Quads C5, D7, G5.
Painted Skimmer  Libellula semifasiciata  This is another migratory dragonfly that can be found virtually anywhere in the reservation when it arrives in early spring. Preferred breeding habitats are bogs and marshy ponds. It is most reliably found in the marsh at the end of Michigan Road. May 5 - August 20. Quads C9, D7, G7.
Four-spotted Skimmer  Libellula quadrimaculata  This is a northern species with a preference for sedge marshes. At WPRR, it has been found at the marsh and pond at the end of Michigan Road. It occurred regularly through the much of the 1990's, was absent for several years, and has been sporadic over the last 5. June 16 - July 8. Quad D7.
Great Blue Skimmer  Libellula vibrans  This is a southern species that irrupts northward in some years, on occasion becoming common at small ponds, vernal pools, and slow streams. When present at WPRR, it is best found at the woodland pond northwest of the Meadow parking lot. June 16 - August 16. Quads D3, D7, G5.
Common Whitetail  Plathemis lydia  This is one of the most frequently encountered dragonflies in the northeast, regularly encountered along trails, roadsides, and in fields. Breeding habitats are ponds, marshes, and slow streams. May 5 - September 2. Quads C9, D7, G9, I4, I5, I6.
Blue Dasher  Pachydiplax longipennis  One of the most abundant dragonflies of the northeast, this species is at home at lakes, ponds, and marsh-edged streams. At WPRR, mainly found at the end of Michigan Road, both at the water habitats and in the fields. June 4 - July 31. Quads D4, D7, G5.
Wandering Glider  Pantala flavescens  As the name of this dragonfly might indicate, this is a migratory species. Numbers are variable from year to year, and great numbers may sometimes be observed migrating along the coast. Breeding may be in rain pools, puddles, temporary and artificial ponds. Typical WPRR sightings are of individuals in flight, often in swarms with other species. August 4 - September 2. Quads D4, D7, G5.
Spot-winged Glider  Pantala hymenaea  This species' habits are much like that of the Wandering Glider, but numbers tend to be less variable from year to year. June 5 - August 16. Quads D4, D7.
Eastern Amberwing  Perithemis tenera  This is a tiny, distinctive dragonfly of ponds, lakes, and slow streams. Individuals are commonly found in fields.  June 26 - August 18. Quads B4, D7, G5, I5.
Cherry-faced Meadowhawk  Sympetrum internum  This small red species is an abundant dragonfly of ponds, marshes, and slow streams. It may be found away from water and is the most likely of the meadowhawks to be seen in mid summer.  June 10 - October 10. Quads C12, D7, I4.
Band-winged Meadowhawk  Sympetrum semicinctum  Another small red species, this dragonfly is more at home in marshy habitats, including ponds, brooks, and meadows. It should be looked for around the marsh at the end of Michigan Road, particularly in September. July 27 - October 10. Quad D7.
Autumn Meadowhawk  Sympetrum vicinum  This is another small red species of ponds, marshes, and slow streams. Although individuals may emerge as early as June, they are most easily found when breeding begins in September. This species is famous for its late flight period, with regional records extending into December in warm years.  August 7 - October 23. Quads C4, D7, E7, G5, I4.
Carolina Saddlebags  Tramea carolina  This is species is seen in New York mainly as a breeder on Long Island ponds and lakes and as a migrant along the coast. Its travels may on rare occasions bring it to WPRR, where it may be seen in feeding swarms with other species. June 5 - July 25. Quad D7.
Black Saddlebags  Tramea lacerata  This is a common, highly migratory species. It favors ponds and lakes for breeding. Typical WPRR sightings are of individuals in flight, often in swarms with other species. June 5 - September 24. Quads D4, D7, F5.