- The myriad shades of green
- The birds arriving, singing, and nesting
- The amazing beauty of flowering plants
- The promise of a summer yet to be had
- The students have mostly left campus
- The start of the dragonfly season
While I did see the arrivals of Green Darners (Anax junius) a few weeks ago, that's not the same as our home-grown odes emerging from the cold marshes and ponds, which usually starts around the 1st of May. For a long time, I have maintained that the best time to start looking for boghaunters (Williamsonia) is when the Amelanchier trees are in bloom. Ready to test that hypothesis, Darrin O'Brien and I headed out to the bog at Rose Lake Wildlife Research Area yesterday (May 2) to see if the ringed boghaunters had started to emerge. It was a gorgeous day, with a high of 23°C, few clouds, and a faint breeze. Yes, the shadbush trees were in full bloom, and the spring azure butterflies (Celastrina ladon) were quite abundant. We walked the trail from the small parking lot that follows the footbridge over Vermilion Creek to the trail that rings the bog. The first ode of the day, and one that we kept seeing was Epitheca canis, and all of the ones that I saw were males, and still teneral, so were maybe 24 hours emerged.
|male Epitheca canis|
The earliest date for Williamsonia lintneri is April 30 (2010) in Mecosta Co., and May 2 is the date that specimens were collected in Kent Co. (2002) by Greg Swanson. At this point it is safe to say that the first week of May in the Lower Peninsula is the time to look for Ringed Boghaunters. The earliest date for Williamsonia fletcheri is May 6 in the Lower Peninsula (Mecosta Co.). In the UP, late May to mid-June is the flight period for either species.
The perching on tree trunks at head height and above is something that we did not expect. Perhaps it was due to the afternoon sun, or to the time of adult emergence. It goes to show that there is always something to be found that is new and unexpected, and that its good to have our preconceived notions challenged.
EDIT, MAY 4TH: For some reason, I was putting the actual location of the bog and boghaunters as being in Clinton Co., a mistake I made last year. The topo map and satellite view clearly shows that the trail around the bog is within Shiawassee County. I have updated the MOS database to reflect that change. Thanks, Darrin, for pointing out the error of my ways! :D