Tuesday, June 18, 2013
One doesn't generally think of Odonata and dry limestone, but there are many boggy spots and ponds on Drummond Island, as well as several creeks and a small river. In addition, this IS an island with many bays and inlets with lots of protected coves with abundant reeds, etc., so there are many good habitats for odes. The weather was not too bad, but we did have several thunderstorms roll through on one of the days. Most of my time with a net was spent on maxton Plains, or along the lake shore near the Drummond Island Resort near Maxton.
The highlight for me was when Jorie caught a female Williamsonia fletcheri after photographing it eating a crane fly. The Ebony bog-haunter isn't a new record for Chippewa County, and it has also previously been collected on Maxton Plains. However, I don't know of anyone finding them with prey before. Here is a photo of the female that Jorie caught.
I didn't spend a lot of time with the net, but it looks like anyone wanting to put some real effort on Drummond Island ought to come up with some good records. There is a lot of state land on the island, and plenty of places to stay. The habitats are varied enough that some real finds might be possible. This farthest east part of the Upper Peninsula certainly deserves further investigation!
Monday, February 04, 2013
Despite the awful end of the season results, last year's 492 specimens were added to the database.
Many new county records were added, but I have not yet picked those out of the matrix.
Tramea onusta, a new UP record was added by Jorie O'Brien.
108 species were collected.
Collections were made in 27 counties (see map): Barry, Benzie, Berrien, Cass, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Lake, Lenawee, Livingston, Luce. Marquette, Macomb, Manistee, Montoe, Oakland, Otsego, Presque Isle, Saginaw, Schoolcraft. Tuscola, Washtenaw, and Wayne.
The earliest collection date was March 25 - Ischnura verticalis in Saginaw Co. by Jeff Sommer, and the latest collection date was November 9 - Sympetrum vicinum in Washtenaw Co., by Mark O'Brien.
Anax junius was collected on April 13 in Oakland Co. by Craves/O'Brien, 11 May in Washtenaw Co. (MFO), and Marquette Co., Jorie O'Brien and Greg Bauman.
The following people added vouchers:
Greg T. Bauman
Thanks to all of you!!!!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Here is a card from Needham, dated 1940. I should note that I live on Needham Road in Ann Arbor. Too bad there isn't a Williamson Blvd. :)
We'll see what 2013 has in store for us.
Monday, November 05, 2012
Thursday, November 01, 2012
|Autumn meadowhawk, Sympetrum vicinum.|
I was on a brief visit to Marquette last weekend to return my daughter's Jeep to her and get my own vehicle back. I stopped at the Straits State Park near St. Ignace, and saw the most Sympetrums I had seen all year. So, I have a photographic record of Sympetrum vicinum for October 26, 2012 for Mackinac Co. While I was trying to photograph this one on a rock where several were sunning themselves (temperature was about 50°F), my buddy Marc Akemann photographed me with two more perched on my back. I guess I was a good heat source, too. Until we have a serious killing frost, this species will hang on into November, a last reminder of the great fun we had this summer.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Where are the meadow hawks? I have not seen a single Sympetrum this summer. Much of lower Michigan has been in a serious drought - two weeks ago we had the first significant rain since the end of June, and today we are finally getting a small bit. It's not enough though, as the non-irrigated fields look pretty dreadful. Usually by this time, meadow hawks are everywhere. Last Thursday, I scoured the Lily Park area in Pittsfield Twp., and did not see a single one. Duck-potato Pond has been reduced to a skim of water, where I could see ducks standing in the water, and a few shallow pools where some looked like they could be paddling along. I could walk 50 feet out into the pond on mostly dry land, which usually is at worst, a mucky place you would not want to go.
Now, I don't expect that everyone has the same conditions, but I am very interested in what others are seeing across the state. I think this summer's weather may have really devastated species that live in marshy zones that are dependent on groundwater. Many Sympetrum species live in such areas, and those wetlands have largely been dry or nearly so since early July. It's perplexing, for sure. On top of that, I expect it to not be a good late summer for species of Aeshna that emerge from woodland ponds, which dried up in mid-summer. Maybe emergence will be delayed until after we get a bunch of rain, but it is now the last week of August. This is in stark contrast to the spring, when Spatterdock darners were extremely abundant. This summer's long stretches of heat without any appreciable rain, compounded with so little winter precipitation, certainly has wreaked havoc with many of the the Odonata here. It will be interesting to see if they rebound in the fall, and what happens next year.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
ISRA is a multi-use area of about 4500 acres, with many bike trails, a beach and camping areas, and is bounded on the N by the Grand River. Sessions Lake feeds a small stream that eventually runs into the Grand River. It's a large enough area that we felt we ought to have some good opportunities to collect from a variety of habitats. We quickly netted several Libellulidae and Coenagrionidae that were new county records, and the shoreline of Sessions Lake was quite thick with Halloween Pennants (Celithemis eponina), Eastern Pondhawks (Erythemis simplicicollis), Widow skimmers (Libellula luctuosa), and the Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata). Only L. luctuosa and C. eponina were not new records. A lot of damselflies were recently-emerged tenerals, and many of those were Enallgma basidens, the Double-striped bluet -- another new record. A gomphid was buzzing past us near some rocky areas, and Jeff finally snagged it -- a Black-shouldered spinyleg, Dromogomphus spinosus -- and not a new record! I was able to net an Epitheca princeps (Prince Baskettail) on a most lucky swing. I also found some exuviae of the species on a concrete barrier. That was a new county record, and the first corduliid recorded for Ionia. I am sure some May/June collecting would turn up a slew of new records.
After collecting until after noon, we headed over to the N of ISRA that borders the Grand River. It was pretty hot and sunny, so it was good to get to the picnic shelter off Riverside Drive and have some lunch before we headed down to the river. It has been quite dry this summer, and the Grand River was obviously lower than usual, as we could see the exposed banks. There wasn't too much flying there, except for Calopteryx maculata (Ebony Jewelwing) and Argia apicalis (Blue-fronted Dancer). Of course, there were some dragonflies flying on the OTHER side of the river!
The Grand River
As we walked back up the trail to the parking lot, we scared up a feeding River Cruiser, which none of us could collect. It was feeding along a powerline cut, which is always a great place to check. Doug suggested that we take a look at the stream, which looked like it might be productive earlier in the season. There were lots of riffles and cobbles, and the stream was cool...though not as cold as I would have liked on that hot day.
We saw Ebony Jewelwings along the creek, and Jeff missed netting a Fawn Darner (Boyeria vinosa), which would have been yet another county record! Otherwise, there was not much else at that time of the day.
Doug had to head back home, but Jeff, Quinn, and I decided to try our luck at the Portland State Game Area (PSGA), a few miles to the SE. The PGSA follows the Grand River, and is discontinuous, surrounded by farmland. However, the rich woods we saw looked pretty nice, and I wish i had realized that there were multiple entrances to the section we visited. We parked at a gate that was closed, but since the road was washed out in some places, perhaps it is just as well that we didn't try driving it. We kept scaring up Macromias in the field edges, and Jeff finally caught one just before we left for the day -- it was a Macromia illinoiensis, which wasn't a new record. By the way, I should mention that Jeff and his son Quinn make a good team. I was greatly impressed by Quinn's knowledge and his demeanor.
I did catch a new record in the path to the river -- a Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus) - such a monstrous dragonfly with such a small head!
Those always impress me, and believe me, it was a lucky swing. Once we were at the Grand River, we saw a lot more activity than we had downstream earlier. Quinn immediately caught a Hetaerina americana (American Rubyspot), which were fairly numerous along the vegetated banks. The river had cobbles and much more flow to it than where we had been earlier. Common Green darners (Anax junius) were constantly cruising around, and I am sure there had to be some Stylurus, but I did not see any. It was getting towards 5 pm so we headed back to our vehicles. The only downside to the PSGA is that people can access it with ORVs, and two idiots sped by us on the dirt road several times, speeding up and letting the gravel fly as they approached. However, the riverside was quite relaxing and promising insofar as a place to look for gomphids next June.
I had a good day with Doug, Jeff, and Quinn, and we did pretty well for the first week of August. One thing of note, we did not see a single Sympetrum during the day, nor did we see any Lestes!
New Ionia County records on 08/04/2012:
Calopterygidae - Hetaerina americana
Coenagrionidae - Argia apicalis, Argia tibialis, Enallagma basidens, E. carunculatum, E. civile.
Aeshnidae - Boyeria vinosa - (no voucher)
Gomphidae - Hagenius brevistylus
Corduliidae - Epitheca princeps
Libellulidae - Celithemis elisa, Erythemis simplicicollis, Libellula pulchella, Pachydiplax longipennis, Perithemis tenera, Tramea lacerata.
That's fifteen new county records for one day in August. Add to that the species that we saw/collected that day that were not new records (8 species) for a total of 23 species for the day. That's not too shabby for August!
Now, if only we could do this every week.