Subject: Gorgeous red dragonfly
Geographic location of the bug: Albany Pine Bush, Albany, NY
Time: 08:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Bugman,
Susan B. here with yet another dispatch from the Albany Pine Bush! Karner Blue season is ending, but I’m looking forward to more of them in July. Meanwhile I discovered a great wetland area with several ponds, and numerous dragonflies zipping about and skimming over the water. There were quite a few familiar species, but also a few of these dragonflies that I’m not sure about. Finally one landed on a nearby twig and let me get some photos.
I thought they were Red Saddlebags dragonflies at first, but when I got home I realized there doesn’t seem to be a record of Red Saddlebags in my area on iNaturalist, and the photos I found seem to have more light brown on them. For the record, the dragonfly is a bit more vivid and red than it appears in the photo–it’s in silhouette.
For what it’s worth, there were several Black Saddlebags dragonflies flying around as well, and the two or three of this species were similar in size, shape, and behavior, but much more vivid red.
How you want your letter signed: Susan B.
Just because there is no record of a Red Saddlebags, Tramea onusta, on iNaturalist does not mean they are not present in Albany. We believe based on this and other images on BugGuide that your initial impulse is correct and that this is a Red Saddlebags, though BugGuide does not include any New York sightings, but BugGuide does indicate the range is: “Eastern half of US .” Insect Identification does include New York sightings.