Friday, October 15, 2010

The End Is Near



The end of the ode season, that is. Pictured here is a Sympetrum semicinctum that I saw on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. I also saw S. vicinum and about 6 Aeshna umbrosa. It amazes me how wary the darners are so late in the fall. I was up in Cheboygan and Emmet counties late last week, and there were a few darners here and there, and I never was able to catch one. They are prone to resting on tree trunks, and those damn branches get in the way of capture. They also fly off at the slightest provocation, which they do not do earlier in the season. Maybe it'e the wary ones that survive the longest. While I was in Wilderness State Park, I managed to catch 4 species of Sympetrum -- costiferum, danae, obtrusum, and rubicundulum. I only saw S. vicinum at Cheboygan State Park.

While Adrienne and I were on a mini vacation, we drove up to Whitefish Point and visited Mike and Susan Kielb. They have a beautiful new place that is a perfect fit for their surroundings and their interests. We enjoyed our walk around with them and were treated to a wonderful lunch. They are about a half-mile from the point, and what an ideal location for watching for dragonflies (oh yeah, and those pesky birds...).

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Quick trip to Crosswinds Marsh

Darner!
Aeshna canadensis on tree by Marjorie O'Brien

Yesterday afternoon, Jorie and Stephanie accompanied me for a short visit to Crosswinds Marsh (CM) in Sumpter Twp., in SW Wayne County. CM is not a naturally-occurring marsh, but is a mitigated wetland that was constructed in the early 1990's as a result of the expansion of Detroit Metro Airport. There are approximately 900 acres of habitat connected by a series of beautiful boardwalks that interconnect over the water. It's a very visually appealing place, though the large landfill to the east is a bit disconcerting, and of course, there are big jets in the air at all times, as they come in to Detroit Metro. If you can sort of blot out the jets, the marsh is a very nice visit. Yesterday was my first time there, and though not exactly a collecting trip, I was interested in seeing what it might be like for future trips when odes are about. Though it was sunny, it was only about 68°F and the best days of dragonflies are long behind us. However, we did see lots of Sympetrum vicinum, which will be around until the hard frosts finally do them in. As we were walking back along a trail that skirts the edge of the woods, Marjorie spied a darner getting some sun on the trunk of a tree. After she took a series of photos (above), I tried catching it by hand. I almost had it, but was not aggressive enough it it barely got away. From what I can tell, it looks like Aeshna canadensis. Crosswinds is actually an easy drive from Ann Arbor, so I will be out there again next season, and see if I can find something that Julie and Darren haven't yet seen. :D