#YearInReview: April, 2022

Lake D’Arbonne in northeast Louisiana is huge: 15, 250 acres. It is a fishermen’s haven: bass, crappie, catfish, bream. On a clear, warm day in April, fishing boats criss-crossing the lake–from jon-boats with small outboards to streamlined bass boats with twin motors–is a constant.

Thus turning my kayak to face the oncoming wakes of passing boats was also a constant. Interestingly, the slow jon-boats that sort of wallow through the water rock a 12-foot kayak much more severely than a high-powered bass boat on plane, with only a few inches of propeller actually in the water.

Exploring a lake that size in a kayak would require much more paddle-power than I have, but when our local paddle-craft outfitter announced a kayaking day at D’Arbonne, I decided that was a good opportunity to check it out.

Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum)

It was a gorgeous day to be on the water, and although I paddled only about a half mile to the closest stretch of undeveloped shoreline, I was rewarded with a pair of red-wing blackbirds in trees leaning over the water and a couple species of wildflowers.

Best of all, an orange bluet (Enallagma signatum) damselfly perched on a stick-up nearby. Most bluets are, indeed, blue. Orange bluet males are bright orange, like the one above. Female orange bluets start out blue, but actually turn into one of three color patterns or “morphs.” Some become dull yellow, others green, and still others remain blue.

On land, damselflies are often down in the grass. Getting a clear shot and using focus to separate their thread-like bodies from the background can be quite a challenge. On water, the challenge is getting in position and shooting between episodes of being rocked by boat wakes!

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