Delmarva Dragonflies and Damselflies

Overview Map of Sites in the Northeast

Comprehensive map of sites in the Delmarva with descriptions of each site. Sites from many surrounding states (VA, MD, PA, NJ, NY, VT and NH) also included. Click "four corners" icon for larger map.

Main Odonate Sites in the Delmarva

Scroll down for detailed site guides

  • Idylwild Wildlife Management Area, MD
  • Lums Pond State Park
  • Summit Bridge Ponds and Sedge Meadow
  • White Clay Creek State Park
  • Blackbird State Forest
  • Greensboro Christian Park, MD

Target Odonates List

Click here for a list of target odes and the most reliable spots to find them

Idylwild Wildlife Management Area, MD

This is by far the premier site for odonates on the Delamarva. Many species occur here that cannot be found anywhere else on the penninsula. Many rarities and accidentals have been discovered here. It is an abandoned sand mining operation in sandy pine woods next to the Marshyhope River with a wide diversity of pond, stream, bog and river habitats.

You may have to zoom the map with the + button on the map. Click the "four corners icon" in the upper right to view a larger map. The yellow line on the map traces a typical walking route usually done in a clockwise direction. Numbers on map refer to descriptions below.

  1. Parking Lot. In early April, there are sometimes Robust Baskettails and Selys's Sundragons in the clearings around the parking lot.
  2. Entrance Road. Walk into Idylwild on this road slowly. Many rarities have been found along the entrance road. Robust Baskettails and Selys's Sundragons can by found in the brushy clearings to the N of the road just a little ways after passing the entrance gate in early April. Many species feed along the entrance road after emergence before moving to breeding areas. Anything can occur. Especially good for Striped Emeralds. Mocha and Fine-lined can be common, Treetop Emerald may be regular and Coppery Emerald is possible. Cuisers and Spiketails fly up and down the road.
  3. Clearing Off Entrance Road. This small clearing off of the entrance road is always worth checking.
  4. Old Paved Area. A good place for cruising species, especially Harlequin Darner.
  5. Seep Bog. This tiny bog is the star of Idylwild. Many bog species that are hard to find anywhere else in the Delmarva. Elfin Skimmer, Banded and Double-ringed Pennants, Yellow-sided Skimmer, Aurora Damsel, Sphagnum and Southern Sprites and more.
  6. Long Pond. You can enter the pond at the north end for easy wading along the shore in a counter clockwise direction. Many damsels, especially Slender Bluets. Only known site in Delmarva for Pale Bluet. A few can be found in late June and July usually perched in the shade just above the water under overhanging vegetation along the edge.
  7. Attentuated Bluet Pond. In some years, a few Attenuated Bluets can be found on this pond.
  8. Lilypad Cove. You can wade in here and walk to your left into the lilypads. It is deeper at the edges so you can get further wading in the middle. Lilypad Forktails are usually common and one or two Burgundy Bluets are often mixed in. Both species often prefer to perch on lilypads in the shade.
  9. Marshyhope Creek. You can get to the creek here and it is always worth checking. By wading upstream you can come to some areas with overhanging vegetation that usually have BLackwater Bluets.
  10. Lilypad Pond. Wade in near the little Penninsula on the W side where it is shallower. Lilypad Forktail usually common. Good spot for Elegant and Swamp Spreadwing and sometimes Aurora Damsel.
  11. Creek Access from the Bridge. Many species cruise up and down the creek here. Stream Cruisers, Dragonhunters, Turquoise Bluets, Selys's Sundragon, Sparkling Jewelwings, Blackwater Bluets all possible here.
Lums Pond State Park

This site has the greatest diversity of odonates in Delaware. The large pond, streams and especially the vernal pools harbor unique species.

You may have to zoom the map with the + button on the map. Click the "four corners icon" in the upper right to view a larger map. The yellow line on the map traces a typical walking route usually done in a clockwise direction. Numbers on map refer to descriptions below.

  1. Parking Lot.
  2. Whale Wallow Vernal Pool. Spreadwings, Meadowhawks and Darners.
  3. Impoundment. Wade the edges and look for Unicorn Clubtail, Big Bluet and many common pond speices.
  4. Deep Seep. This small seep has very deep mud so be careful, but in June there are usually a couple of Eastern Red Damsels.
  5. Powerline. Walking the powerline cut is usually very productive. Small pools and water filled ditches attract an amazing variety of odes. Meadowhawks, Skimmers, Spreadwings, Clubtails, Emeralds, Darners and others possible.
  6. Buttonbush Bay. Unfortunately difficult to find deep in the woods, however it is one of the best sites in the park. Rarities such as Green-striped and Black-tipped Darner have occurred here. Cherry-faced, Blue-faced and Autumn Meadowhawks abundant in the fall. The only know site for Spotted Spreadwing in the Delmarva and it is often abundant here with Slender and Sweetflag Spreadwing.
  7. Playing Fields. Darners and Emeralds can be seen cruising these fields. The tiny pond on the north end sometimes holds species such as pennants that can't be found elsewhere in the park.
  8. Lums Pond. You can enter the pond the W end of Area 4. Wading W along the fragmites usually produces Big Bluet and Orange Bluet. Royal River Cruisers are often spotted over the pond. This is the northernmost site for this speices. One year Slender Baskettail was common along the shore.
  9. Boardwalk. Boardwalk over seep stream. Great place to view Ebony Jewelwings. Other seep species possible but so far unrecorded.
Summit Bridge Ponds and Sedge Meadow

The Sedge Meadow is one of the best sites for odonates in Delaware. In midsummer the sheer number of odonates is astounding. The sedge filled pond shimmers with the wings of hundreds of Blue Dashers while Saddlebags, Comet Darners and Common Green Darners cruise overhead. Clouds of Citrine Forktails rise up with every step. It is the only accessible site in Delaware for Amber-winged Spreadwing. Blue Coproral is common in April and Autumn Meadowhawks persist here into late fall, often to mid December. The only state record for Little Blue Dragonlet comes from here as well as the only county record for Martha's Pennant. The nearby Powerline Access to the Sphagnum area is the only reliable location for Sphagnum Sprite in Delaware. The Bluet Pond has eight species of Bluets, including a record for Vesper Bluet and a thriving population of Double-stiped Bluets. The only reliable location for the latter species in the county.

You may have to zoom the map with the + button on the map. Click the "four corners icon" in the upper right to view a larger map. The yellow lines on the map trace typical walking routes. Numbers on map refer to descriptions below.

  1. Sedge Meadow Parking. Park here. It is tempting to drive a high clearance vehicle further but vehicles have to stay on maintained roads. Police do ticket cars that wander off onto non-maintained dirt tracks.
  2. Sedge Meadow. See description above. Usually wading around the margins is the best approach. Wading further out can be treacherous as there are some deep holes.
  3. Bluet Pond. This pond does not look promising when you drive up but it can be loaded with up to 8 species of bluets. A reliable site for Double-striped Bluet, which is often abundant, and Big Bluet. The problem here is that this pond is designated for and used by professional hunting dog trainers. It is difficult to find a time when the pond is not being used for this purpose. The dog trainers do not appreciate the presence of other people and will ask you to leave if you try to look at the pond while they are there.
  4. Sphagnum Area Parking. Park here and walk S over the hill along the powerline. Walk out into the wetland as indicated on the map. There is a small area rich in sphagnum that can be hard to find but seems to have a reliable popultion of Sphagnum Sprite, but they were only discovered two years ago.
White Clay Creek State Park

White Clay Creek State Park is a good place to see species typical of Piedmont Streams such as American Rubyspot, Stream Bluet, Dusky Dancer, Swift River Cruiser and Black-shouldered Spinyleg. There are large populations of nymphs of Eastern Least Clubtails but adults are almost never seen. The creek hosted mass emergences of Arrow Clubtails in the past but they seem much rarer now. The main attraction of the park is a small seep stream which is the only relaiable place in the region to find Tiger Spiketail.

You may have to zoom the map with the + button on the map. Click the "four corners icon" in the upper right to view a larger map. The yellow lines on the map trace typical walking routes. Numbers on map refer to descriptions below.

  1. Chambers Rock Road Parking. You can park here and enter the creek on the south side of Chambers Rock Road. Unless the creek is flooding, you can usually wade downstream from here to the upper end of the pond behind the dam (point 5). Species typical of Piedmont streams. The first few hundred yards downstream of the road is one of the few reliable spots for breeding Dusky Dancers.
  2. Nature Center Parking Lot. You can park here and access the creek, wading either upstream or downstream.
  3. Tiger Spiketail Trailhead. Hike S from the Nature Center on Creek Rd, which is closed to traffic S of Hopkins Road. After crossing the second wooden bridge S of Hopkins, there is a trail uphill to the W that follows the seep stream. Despite being not much more than a trickle, Tiger Spiketails are found along the entire length of this stream. However, you may have to sit patiently by the stream for 10-15 minutes to see one.
  4. Pumphouse Pond. Typical pond species. This pond has been the site of some significant records in the past, but has been less productive recently.
  5. Dam. Rocky riffles below the dam are excellent for Powdered Dancer and Stream Bluet.
Blackbird State Forest

This immense, fragmented state forest is loaded with beaver ponds, streams and vernal pools. It is largely unexplored. The few sites we visit regularly are described below. This is best place in New Castle County for species like Harlequin Darner, Stream Cruiser and Twin-spotted Spiketail. Springtime Darner, Blue Corporal and Common Baskettail are common early in the season.The vernal pools hold spreadwings and meadowhawks. A great place to use sattelite view to find unexplored streams and vernal pools. The only county record for Taper-tailed Darner comes from here as does the only state record for Arrowhead Spiketails. Some of these sites are difficult to find.

You may have to zoom the map with the + button on the map. Click the "four corners icon" in the upper right to view a larger map. The yellow line on the map traces a typical walking route. Numbers on map refer to descriptions below.

  1. Bridge. Blackbird Creek is overgrown and difficult to access. This small bridge allows you to see what is flying up and down the creek.
  2. Fishing Pond. This artificial, lilypad covered lake is surprisingly productive. It is the only place in Delaware where Lilypad Forktail is regular. Elegant Spreadwing is often found here. Harlequin Darners, Common Baskettails, Swamp Darners and Emeralds are often flying over the field next to the pond.
  3. Tybout Parking. Park here to access the vernal bay and the creek trail.
  4. Tybout Vernal Bay. You have to bushwack into this bay directly across from the parking area. A large, wadable bay often loaded with several species of spreadwings and meadowhawks, sometimes Comet Darner.
  5. Foot Bridge. First stop on the trail along the creek. Does not look like much, but many species can be seen flying up and down the creek. Turquoise Bluet, Springtime and Harlequin Darner, Stream Cruiser, Twin-spotted Spiketail, Dragonhunter, Great Blue Skimmer. Follow the trail as indicated on the map. This trail can have Springtime and Swamp Daner, Twin-spotted Spiketail and both Ashy and Lancet Clubtail.
  6. Sable Clubtail Glade. This glade is hard to find and you must bushwack off the trail to the creek at the right spot. It is just below the beaver dam that forms a large, Fragmites-filled pond. This spot holds a tiny population of a few Sable Clubtails, only one of three known populations in the region. We ask that you not collect this species.
  7. Arrowhead Spiketail Stream. Pin on map in general area. Very difficult to get to or even give directions to, deep in the forest is a small (1 ft wide) stream that has Delaware's only population of Arrowhead Spiketails. The stream crosses the trail in a little valley where some crushed rock has been spread over the culvert. You will have to explore to find it.
Greensboro Christian Park, MD

A very productive, easily accessible coastal plain stream. The Choptank River here is a haven for stream gomphids, including Common Sanddragon, Black-shouldered Spinyleg and Dragonhunter. Reliable for Fawn Darner, Turquoise Bluet, Sparkling Jewelwing and, with careful searching, Blackwater Bluet.

You may have to zoom the map with the + button on the map. Click the "four corners icon" in the upper right to view a larger map. The yellow line on the map traces a typical walking route. Numbers on map refer to descriptions below.

  1. Parking. Walk downstream along the river. Parts are wadeable. Dragonhunters can be abundant. Black-shouldered Spinylegs perch on exposed mud banks facing the river.
  2. Riffle. Unless the water level is very high, there will be exposed rocks in the middle of the stream. This is where the Common Sanddragons are usually found. Blackwater Bluet is usually found in the overhanging vegetation along this banks of the stream in this area. They are very hard to spot. Also, this stretch is usually best for Sparkling Jewelwing in the vegetation along the banks, in the company of abundant Ebony Jewelwings.