Variegated Meadowhawks have silvery-gray patches on their red abdomens, and red veins along the edges of their wings. They have two light-colored stripes on the thorax. In older individuals, these stripes may fade but you can still see yellow dots beneath where the stripes were. 

On March 28, 2020, I was taking a walk at Oakes Quarry. It was the first day of dragonfly season, and the migratory Common Green Darners had just rolled into town, on a warm front from the south. My gaze fell upon a small red dragonfly and I nearly fell over in shock. A meadowhawk? In MARCH? I had just found my first Variegated Meadowhawk.

On June 21,  2020, I had a real treat. I found several teneral Variegated Meadowhawks emerging at Oakes Quarry, at the same location where I had seen the adult migrants earlier in the year. These tenerals were undoubtedly the offspring of the earlier migrants. In 2023, I found a single teneral at Oakes Quarry on July 4, 2023.  It is amazing that these dragonflies can complete their life cycle from egg to emergence in about three months or less! 

Variegated Meadowhawks are usually uncommon migrants in Ohio, but 2020 turned out to be a good year for them. I saw several migrants in late March and early April 2020, mostly at Oakes Quarry but also one individual at Grant Park in Centerville. The following two years, I did not see any Variegated Meadowhawks, but I found one individual at Oakes Quarry on April 4 and 9, 2023.