Where are the meadow hawks? I have not seen a single Sympetrum this summer. Much of lower Michigan has been in a serious drought - two weeks ago we had the first significant rain since the end of June, and today we are finally getting a small bit. It's not enough though, as the non-irrigated fields look pretty dreadful. Usually by this time, meadow hawks are everywhere. Last Thursday, I scoured the Lily Park area in Pittsfield Twp., and did not see a single one. Duck-potato Pond has been reduced to a skim of water, where I could see ducks standing in the water, and a few shallow pools where some looked like they could be paddling along. I could walk 50 feet out into the pond on mostly dry land, which usually is at worst, a mucky place you would not want to go.
Now, I don't expect that everyone has the same conditions, but I am very interested in what others are seeing across the state. I think this summer's weather may have really devastated species that live in marshy zones that are dependent on groundwater. Many Sympetrum species live in such areas, and those wetlands have largely been dry or nearly so since early July. It's perplexing, for sure. On top of that, I expect it to not be a good late summer for species of Aeshna that emerge from woodland ponds, which dried up in mid-summer. Maybe emergence will be delayed until after we get a bunch of rain, but it is now the last week of August. This is in stark contrast to the spring, when Spatterdock darners were extremely abundant. This summer's long stretches of heat without any appreciable rain, compounded with so little winter precipitation, certainly has wreaked havoc with many of the the Odonata here. It will be interesting to see if they rebound in the fall, and what happens next year.