A dragonfly program is being presented Sunday, May 19, at the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Visitors Services Specialist Jessica Samuelson of both the Moapa Valley and Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge said the dragonfly program teaches people more about dragonflies and damselflies. “When the eggs are hatched, it takes place underwater and they spend most of their life underwater.”
Dragonflies can be mistaken for the related group, damselflies, which are similar in structure, though usually lighter in build; however, the wings of most dragonflies are held flat and away from the body, while damselflies hold the wings folded at rest, along or above the abdomen. Dragonflies are agile fliers, while damselflies have a weaker, fluttery flight. Many dragonflies have brilliant iridescent or metallic colors, making them conspicuous in flight.
“And if we have time in this program, we might even try and catch a few,” Samuelson said.
Activities were also conducted over the Mother’s Day weekend at both the refuge sites. Samuelson said a Birding 101 program was held May 11 at Pahranagat, on World Migratory Bird Day. “Basically, it’s a program to instruct people who have never gone bird-watching, or only a little bit, to help give them more experience, confidence and strategies on how to identify birds.”
At the Moapa Refuge, Samuelson conducted a nature hike. “With all the wildflowers that are in bloom, this is a good time of year to do it. There are lots of wildflowers such as beavertail cactus, globe mallow, as well as lots of dragonflies and damselflies,” she said. “And hummingbirds are beginning to reappear also.”
Samuelson explained the Birding 101 program talked about different strategies of how to identify various birds. “You want to focus on size and shape, color patterns, behavior and habitat.” After a time, the group went across the east-west levy in Upper Pahranagat Lake looking for birds to see. “We saw lots of ravens, also a pair of Canada geese with two chicks, and a black-necked stilt.”
The Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge is on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds, including bald eagles, which have been spotted at times. Over 200 species of birds have been identified at the refuge.
Samuelson said this summer the Pahranagat Refuge does not have many events planned, although she might consider doing a couple of nighttime scorpion hunts at the Moapa Refuge in June.
Beginning May 31, the visitors center at the Pahranagat refuge will cut back from its regular five-day schedule to just Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Labor Day in September.