Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Madness - Eary Arrival of Anax junius.

Unless you have been living in a cave, you have to be amazed by the warm weather we have been getting in the Great Lakes region this year. I have not examined the data, but from November through February it has been far warmer than typical in Michigan. In January, we had days in the 50s, and rarely did we have snow for more than a few days anytime during the winter. March as been phenomenal as well. We have had a stretch of days when it has been over 70 degrees F, sometimes reaching into the 80s last week. Plants grow and flower according to accumulated degree days, so it is no wonder that our flowers and shrubs are already at a point where we would see them in mid to late April during a "typical" year. At the same time, many ode watchers were wondering when the first Common Green Darners (CGD), Anax junius, were going to arrive. During a "typical" year, we start seeing CGDs around mid-April. Usually, it is some warm front pushing infrom the S, bringing CGDs with it. This year, we are about 2 to 3 weeks earlier, as the map below shows with green dots for the locality, and the date of observation. Considering that one has to be out at a pond to see Anax junius, it is possible that there are some even earlier arrivals that just were not observed. In my case, I saw at least four at a small pond in Pittsfield Twp., with one pair in tandem, and the female was ovipositing. That was on Friday, March 23, the first day when I had a chance to be outside in the middle of the day at a place where I could look for CGDs. I expect that they had arrived there at least a few days earlier, given that the temps had been above 70 all week.

Thanks to Carl Freeman for the Benzie Co. data, Jeff Sommer for the Saginaw Co. data (and the nice photograph of A flying Anax junius), and Julie Craves for passing along the Wayne County record. At some point, we will compile a list of earliest records for Anax junius, but I suspect that these late March records will hold up for some time.

Keep watching and recording!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring is in the air

Well, yes it is going to be in the mid-sixties today, but I received 2000 glassine envelopes yesterday, meaning that the MOS will be stocked and stoked for the upcoming collecting season. I ordered the envelopes from U-Line, and believe me, they are the cheapest source I have found, with 1000 2.5 x 3.5 inch envelopes going for about $20.
In case you haven't seen it already, Julie and I have launched the Michigan Odonata Atlas website, and we hope that you'll check in there to follow our progress and if you are interested in helping by collecting vouchers in some of the lesser-collected places, please contact us. I do supply you with glassine envelopes. I am writing up some protocols for collecting and our "want-list" and they should be up soon on the MOA site.

With this warming trend, and the fact that we are going to be in the 60s to 70s for over a week -- and it's mid-March, I wonder when the first Anax junius will be sighted? Will we get a foot of snow in May? This is strange weather, indeed.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The 2012 GLOM and NE DSA Regional Meeting!

I plan on being there, and hopefully, some of you other folks in Michigan will also attend. Make sure that you have a US Passport.

2012 Northeast Regional DSA Meeting and Great Lakes Odonata Meeting
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 6–8 July

Colin Jones , Bryan Pfeiffer < bryan@dailywing.net > and Bob DuBois

The 2012 Northeast Regional Meeting of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas will be combined with the annual Great Lakes Odoanta Meeting (GLOM) and will be held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario from Friday evening, 6 July to Sunday, 8 July. A block of 20 non-smoking rooms with two double beds have been reserved at the Super 8 (184 Great Northern Rd, Hwy 17 North, Sault Ste Marie) at $85/night (plus 13% tax) for the nights of July 6, 7 and 8. Each room also contains a mini-fridge and the hotel offers a free continental-style breakfast. These rooms will be held until 1 June provided the block is not filled. To reserve your room, call the motel directly at 1-705-254-6441 and mention the “Dragonfly Society”. For anyone arriving early or staying later, they will honor the same rate.

Other nearby hotels include: Comfort Inn (333 Great Northern Road, Sault Ste. Marie, Tel: 705-759-8000); Comfort Suites and Conference Centre (229 Great Northern Road, Sault Ste. Marie, Tel: 705-942-2500); Algoma’s Water Tower Inn (360 Great Northern Road, Sault Ste. Marie, Tel: 705-949-8111); and, for the budget-minded there are three options: Catalina Motel (259 Great Northern Road, Tel: 705-945-9260); Skyline Motel (232 Great Northern Road, Tel: 705-942-1240); and the Northlander Motel (243 Great Northern Road, Tel: 705-254-6452).

If participants do not want to drive all the way to Sault Ste. Marie they could fly to the Sault Ste Marie Airport, Ontario (http://www.saultairport.com) or the Chippewa County Internatinoal Aiport, Sault Saint Marie, Michigan (http://www.airciu.com) and rent a car or make other transportation arrangements to get to the Super 8. Keep in mind that participants from the U.S. will require a valid passport.

There are many excellent locations around Sault Ste. Marie that should provide many different habitats (both sandy-bottomed and cobble-bottomed rivers, lakes, ponds, peatlands) for exploration. Although some of the major rivers in the area, such as the Goulais and Batchewana, are relatively well known from an Odonata perspective, much of the surrounding area has had little coverage and this meeting will certainly add a wealth of knowledge to our understanding of the biodiversity of this beautiful part of Ontario.

Species of interest that we expect to encounter include Subarctic Bluet (Coenagrion interrogatum), Ocellated Darner (Boyeria grafiana), several species of Somatoclora including, among others, Lake Emerald (S. cingulata), Delicate Emerald (S. franklini) and Ocellated Emerald (S. minor). The rivers in this area are great for snaketails (Ophiogomphus) including Extra-striped (O. anomalous), Boreal (O. colubrinus), Rusty (O. rupinsulensis) and possibly Riffle (O. carolus).

The details of a post-meeting trip further north (possibly to Manitouwadge – 260 miles/420 km north from Sault Ste. Marie) are still being worked on but target species could include early Aeshna including Sedge Darner (Aeshna juncea), Ringed Emerald (Somatochlora albicincta), Broad-tailed Shadowdragon (Neurocordulia michaeli) and possibly Canada Whiteface (Leucorrhinia patricia). Chances are also good that somebody may get Ontario’s first Quebec Emerald (Somatochlora brevicincta) – long overdue!

A web site providing information on registration, accommodation, meeting schedule, regional information, and species lists for various locations will be posted by mid-March at: < http://www.wingsenvironmental.com/nedsa2012/ >.
Organizers: Colin Jones, Bryan Pfeiffer and Bob DuBois