Sunday, July 17, 2005

Show me Your Hiney!

hines emerald perched
Originally uploaded by argusmaniac.

As in Hine's Emerald dragonfly! On July 13-15, I was at the Hine's Emerald Workshop that took place in St Ignace, MI. Sponsored by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Michigan DNR, and US Forest Service, the workshop was FINALLY held in Michigan to educate state and federal and NGO conservation people on the habitats and biology of the Federally endangered species.
We visited several sites in Mackinac Co., and saw many dozens of these dragonflies. It its proper habitat Somatochlora hineana is a pretty dominant dragonfly species during the adult flight period. We observed both sexes perched, as the male is in this photo, we also saw them mating, female oviposition, male territoriality, and feedingding flights. In addition, Margi Chrisinscke found larval exuviae (a great find) at one of the sites, and we also saw larvae that were removed from crayfish burrows.
Margi Chrisisncke, Stephen Ross, Carl Freeman, and I stayed at a Little Traverse Bay Conservancy cabin on the Pigeon River E of Indian River. It was rustic and perfect for us. It meant commuting to St. Ignace every day, but that wasn't a big deal. Crossing the Mackinac Bridge at 7:30 am is a big difference from mid-day when the tourists are going across.
On Friday, Steve, Carl, and I visited several sites in the lower peninsula near Misery Bay and Thompson's Harbor. The Misery Bay area has me worried -- we saw Hine's emerald there in 2002, but there iss a lot of development going on, and most of the suspected Hine's habitat is on private land. The Thompson's Harbor sites are mostly on public lands, and cover more area.
It was a great trip for the four MOS members, and we also gathered quite a few new county records of other Odonata species.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Great Blue Skimmer

A few days ago Mike Kielb e-mailed me that he'd seen Libellula vibrans at Park Lyndon North in NW Washtenaw County, but was unable to catch it. Today, I was checking my e-mail and found a message from Phil Myers with several photos of dragonflies that he needed indentified. BAM! Photo number two was that of a female L. vibrans from near Mill Lake, near Chelsea. The fact that the individual photographed is recently emerged and not flight-worn in appearance indicates that there is a breeding population here. Now, to catch a voucher specimen!

Image courtesy P. Myers, UMMZ.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Yooper Trameas

The last week of June found me in Delta County with my wife and daughter, and for the fisrt few days we camped at a state forest campground at Portage Bay, which is on the opposite side of the Garden Peninsula from Fayette State Park. The area is primarily a shallow soil layer over dolomitic limestone -- part of the Niagara Escarpment, which is much more obvious on the eastern end of the UP near St. Ignace.

We have camped here before, but always later in the season. Dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) were common, and I for one, don't especially like them crawling on me. Therefore, if I wear shorts I can feel the little bastards crawling on my skin before they get higher up. We did capture about a dozen species of Odonata in areas along the lakeshore (Amphiagrion saucium), and along the roadsides, but our best luck was at a small pond I had visited before. Lots of Leucorrhinias, Enallagma, an Anax junius, Ladona julia (which was dirt common up there), Libellula pulchella, and L. quadrimaculata. Then, a Tramea lacerata came zooming by, and I watched him for several minutes. He buzzed the pond a few times and then flew off and lit on a small shrub. I very calmly walked up to him and snagged him with a swipe of my net. Trameas are obviously not year-round residents here, but they do migrate to the UP and probably successfully hatch a brood that emerges in late summer and flies southward. Just like me, they are temporary visitors to a beautiful part of Michigan.

One species I would love to fnd in Delta County would be Hine's Emerald. Not all that far as the gull flies from the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin, and the limestone bedrock is necessary for this species. One thing that's missing is a fen, but perhaps some searching will reveal some decent habitat.