SPATTERDOCK DARNER and FAWN darner
Another Spatterdock Darner hanging out at Cedar Bog. Note the golden color along the top of each wing.
Spatterdock Darners are the only darners in our area with brilliant sky-blue eyes. (Another species, the Blue-eyed Darner, is nearly identical but not found in Ohio.) Some other darners have dark blue eyes, such as the Swamp Darner, but not this baby-blue shade.
This beautiful, blue-eyed creature is a Spatterdock Darner. This species is not very common in our area. I have found a few individuals at Cedar Bog in late May and early June. The last week of May and the first week of June are an ideal time to look for them. I also saw one individual at Elk Creek MetroPark in Butler County on June 23, 2019.
This is a Fawn Darner, photographed June 23, 2018 in Beavercreek. Fawn Darners are nowhere near as colorful as the Spatterdock Darners above, but I was ecstatic to find this one perched. I watched a male Fawn Darner flying slowly along the tree line, nosing into every dark cubby-hole he could find. I couldn't figure out what he was doing. I thought he was looking for a place to perch and being unusually picky about it. I finally realized he was looking for a female, when he suddenly found one. They formed a mating wheel briefly, and I was able to photograph the individual at left after the pair separated.
Fawn Darners are fairly common along shady streams, but they are very difficult to find perched. They have distinctive white spots on the sides of their thorax. (Another species, the Ocellated Darner, has more elongated spots and less brown at the base of the wings. Ocellated Darners are the rarer of the two species and they are not known to occur in southwest Ohio.)
This is a female Fawn Darner perched at Siebenthaler Fen, on July 3, 2020. She was perched in thick vegetation, making it difficult to photograph her among the branches.