[CT Birds] Stratford Bald Eagle and insect question

Brian Webster b.webster at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 18 10:20:43 EDT 2009

9/18, Stratford yard (about 9:15a)-
(1) adult Bald eagle flying overhead (SW) while I was harvesting some cucumbers.
A bit off topic, but I know there are some very knowledgebale people who check this list and I hope to tap the well....
I have a questoin for anyone familiar with insects.  Over the last 2-3 weeks or so, I have noticed a rather menacing looking insect in my woods.  It is usually on leaves of small maples, oaks or hickories.
At first I thought it was some sort of dragonfly.  It is shaped like one, but the abdomen is VERY long and VERY thin.  When it is perched on a leaf/small branch, the abdomen will curl upwards towards the head.  I also saw it curled down once.  It almost seemed as if it used it for balance they was a cougar or snow leopard would to offset their weight.
It is about 2-3", with small wings.  It is all black, and the wings are translucent.  Not counting the looooong, thin abdomen (I can't stress that enough.... most obvious part about it), the rest of the body is fairly small.  Maybe an inch or so.
It's flight was rather light, gentle, and bouyant.  Not direct or fast like a dragonfly.  All three times I saw it, it was in the woods, at least 50 yards from any of the edges that border a powerline right-of-way, the street behind or my condo complex.  My woods go from very wet, to rather dry, to super thick undergrowth, to fairly open.  It was always in the drier areas that aren't as thick as other places.  My woods are maybe (MAYBE) 1/2 square mile  (best I could get from google earth is a perimiter of .9 miles), and the bug was in the same (approx) 200 square yard area each time.
When I first noticed it, I was reluctant to get close.  The way it sat on the leaf was like a scorpion!  It had its abdomen (what I eventually realized was an abdomen and not a 2-3" stinger) curled upwards towards the head, and held it JUST like a scorpion.
I have seen this insect 3 times so far in the last 2-3 weeks or so.  Never seen anything like it before.  It honestly looked like a scorpion X dragonfly hybrid wiht mini wings.
Sound like anything anyone knows of or has seen??  Any ideas??  The 2 times I went into the woods with camera in hand, I didn't see it.  Of course, it was around the other 3 times.  I own the North American Insects guide from the Peterson guide series and I wasn't able to find it, or anything similar....  although it seems one has to be an entomologist to understand a lot of that guide.
-Brian Webster- 
Stratford, CT
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