Thursday, September 22, 2011

The season is winding down

I was out at Pittsfield Preserve yesterday in the late afternoon, and amazed at how much it had changed since I was last there in July. Of course now the corn is mature and is a significant feature in the fields that surround the wooded areas, but the mosquitoes were not too diminished. There is a small pond (which had a muskrat in it the last time I was there), and I walked over to it in search of anything Ode-like. I did catch an Enallagma civile - the first for the Preserve (at least in my records). The sun was getting low in the sky (it was after 6:30) so I really didn't expect to see much...and it is September. However, I saw some slowly fluttering wings that said "skimmer". I tracked the dragonfly until it landed in clump of vegetation and swung my net -- and ended up with a Pantala flavescens that looked quite fresh. A good start for the evening, I thought, and it would be my only capture for the rest of the time I was there. I saw one Anax junius cruise by, and thought that was pretty much going to be it. The sun was partially obscured by some thunderheads to the West, and I figured it was time to head back to the car. I looked to the East, toward the woods, and realized that there was a big crowd of darners working the edge of the field! I slowly approached, and I estimate that there were several dozen A. junius. As much as I tried, I did not catch anything - even when some of them came straight at me. I also missed what was very clearly an Aeshna-something, as they have a habit of flying close to the vegetation and it may have been looking for a place to land. I also saw one Tramea lacerata head towards the tree-line. After enjoying this spectacle for 20 minutes or so, they all disappeared about 7:20 pm, as the sun was at the horizon and it was getting dark. It was time for me to leave then, too.

I had high hopes for myself at the start of the season, but really only managed to get out and do any collecting/observation a few times per month. However, the fact that there are some new enthusiasts up in the Lansing area, Saginaw, Houghton, and of course, the dynamic Julie-Darrin Duo in Wayne Co., makes up for me being a slacker. Doug McWhirter has been busy up in the Lansing area, and has been issuing monthly updates on the Odes that his group has been recording. I'll be putting that list up on the MOS site this fall for a yearly summary.

Now of course, we are seeing a lot of migrants, but I hope that I can get out and catch some Hetaerina titia near Manchester on the Raisin River this weekend.

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