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!

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