RAINBOW BLUET, CITRINE FORKTAIL, and vesper bluet
Rainbow Bluets are one of the prettiest damselflies around. Unfortunately, they are fairly uncommon in our area. This is typically a more northern species, and we are actually near the southern limit of its range in Ohio. (Their range extends further south in the western plains states.)
Citrine Forktail - one of our smallest damselflies. They are probably more common than most people realize. It is easy to overlook them due to their small size. In fact, Citrine Forktails are so tiny that I would probably never notice them at all, if not for their bright colors.
This is a Citrine Forktail lurking in the grass. They seem to like wet prairies, and I have also seen them at the edges of shallow ponds. Citrine Forktails fly from April through October.
This is a female Rainbow Bluet, photographed at Cox Arboretum. The population at Cox Arboretum must be fairly small and secretive, or I would have more sightings of this beautiful species.
Vesper Bluet. This is a gorgeous damselfly, with a unique combination of a neon yellow thorax and blue abdomen tip. This species is known for flying late in the afternoon and evening, even well after dusk.
Spring Lakes Park in Bellbrook has a good population of Vesper Bluets. I had hunted odonates at that location for several years, but I never saw Vesper Bluets there until the fall of 2017. It's likely that I was just missing them because I am usually not looking for odes late in the evening.
Vesper Bluet, floating contentedly on a leaf. This species likes to rest on lilypads, when lilypads are available. But there are no lilypads at Spring Lakes Park, so the Vespers have to make do with leaves and other vegetation.
I have found a couple of these beauties at Cox Arboretum on three occasions: June 21, 2015, June 2, 2017, and June 18, 2018.
This is a female Citrine Forktail, found at Oakes Quarry. Oakes Quarry has a great population of Citrine Forktails. I spent a lot of time at Oakes Quarry in 2018, searching for Paiute Dancers (long story). In the process, I saw hundreds of Citrine Forktails. They like the same habitat as the Paiutes but are much easier to find. Cox Arboretum and Grant Park also have good populations of Citrine Forktails, but not as good as Oakes Quarry.
I usually see Vesper Bluets in the fall months, but they also fly during the summer. I am probably more likely to encounter them in autumn because it gets darker earlier in the evenings. You don't need to stay out as late to find them in autumn. My latest sighting is October 22nd.