Saturday, June 16, 2007

Raisin River Treasure

Violet Dancer

Argia fumipennis violacea

Today, Marjorie and I went over to the Raisin River at Sharon Hollow and Sharon Mill, in the SW part of Washtenaw Co., and came up with a new county record. After many missed attempts that probably made us look like fools, I netted a Nasiaeshna pentacantha - the Cyrano darner. I saw several flying over the impoundment by the dam at Sharon Mill. I had seen one or two there in previous years, but was never able to snag one. I decided that it might be better to take the trail at the Nan Weston Nature Preserve that ends at the Raisin River, as I had been there previously, and there is some nice habitat there. So, off we went. The boardwalk that runs through most of the preserve crosses several small streams. The first of them is about 18 inches wide, a few inches deep, with some flow, and a sandy bottom. I always wondered if there were any odes there. There are lots of Calopteryx maculata (Ebony jewelwing) there and they are always fun to watch. While we were admiring them, a Cordulegaster maculata came buzzing slowly down the stream. We both missed on the two passes that he made. Oh well. At least I know it's there.

The Raisin River from the Nan Weston Preserve

At the terminus of the trail at the bank of the Raisin River we found some potential spots -- lots of Pickerelweed, some spatterdock, some floodplain shrubby areas, and we were not disappointed. Within minutes we saw several Cyrano darners cruise by, as well as Macromia illinoiensis and Dromogomphus spinosus. There are some tree snags in the slough area of the river here, and the River Cruisers were hangoing out by them. The Cyrano darners were plentiful - in fact, the most I have ever seen. We ALMOST caught one of them several times, but they somehow managed to elude the nets at the last millisecond. Finally, around 2:45 PM I caught one in my net, and at the time, I did not realize it was a new county record.

So, a successful day!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Good Day at Embury Road


Lestes dryas male

At some point, I'm going to have to finish up the Odes of Washtenaw County, seeing that there really is no reason not to, other than inertia. Today was a good visit to one of my favorite Odonata sites, Embury Road over in Lyndon Twp., on the NW corner of the county. That particular area is wonderfully diverse, with Tamarack bogs, cattail marshes, small fens, seeps, deciduous woods, streams and small lakes. Marjorie accompanied me today, and caught the first dragonfly of the day along the roadside, which turned out to be an Epitheca cynosura.

We saw a lot of activity, and the only dragonfly that we could not catch was a Tramea onusta (pretty sure on that) that stayed about 20 feet high before it finally flew off.
Here's a list of what we saw and or caught:
Anax junius
Rhionaeschna mutata
Celithemis elisa
Libellula pulchella
Libellula cyanea
Libellua incesta
Libellula luctuosa
Leucorrhinia intacta
Ladona julia
Plathemis lydia
Erythemis simplicicollis
Pachydiplax longipennis
Tramea onusta
Epitheca cynosura
Gomphus spicatus
Cordulegaster maculata (near stream)
Argia fumipennis violacea
Calopteryx maculata
Lestes dryas
Enallagma sp.

Twenty species isn't bad!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

More mutata!

I was at Nichols Arboretum today photographing the peonies with Adrienne-- the weather was overcast, humid, threatning to rain -- in other words, a great day for Rhionaeschna mutata -- I saw at least three flying around the peony garden, and a few were catching small insects. I managed to get a rather crappy photo of one hanging onto a flower, since I did not have the macro lens on the camera. However, one can at least see that it is a mutata male.

Tachopteryx thoreyi - Friday June 1, I was at Warren Woods in Berrien Co. Just as I pulled into the parking area, a large black and gray darner flew by. I was able to follow it for a few seconds and then it went off into the woods -- I am positive it was T. thoreyi. Have yet to catch one, and photograph one... but I'll be back.