Good times to observe
This relatively large dragonfly (1 3/4-2 1/4 inch long) is black, except for a few brown or yellow markings on the top of the abdomen. The hind wings have broad black marks at the base, otherwise the wings are clear.
DuPage County Notes
This common large dragonfly cruises over wetlands, prairies, and meadows, seldom landing, whether it is on the hunt or patrolling for a mate. It is one of the migratory species, second in numbers only to common green darners among southbound autumn dragonflies. Their egg-laying behavior is entertaining, the pairs flying over ponds with the male's abdomen tip clasping the female behind the head. To lay an egg they pause, the male releases the female who drops down to the water, releases an egg by touching her abdomen tip to the surface, then seems to bounce back up to the male who regains his grip. The large black basal wing patches, limited to the rear pair of wings, make this species easy to identify.