Friday, April 17, 2015

Some catching up to do!

Ringed Boghaunter eating a tipulid fly.
Time flies, doesn't it?  It's been a long time since I have updated this blog, and it's not because I am lazy.  I have been quite busy, in fact.  First of all, some updates on Michigan odes.  2014 was an interesting year, with more new county records, and a few really significant finds.  I'll start out with a species that should be emerging any day now -- Williamsonia lintneri, the Ringed Boghaunter.  Last May, I was alerted to this species being present by David Marvin on 5/25 at a bog within the Rose Lake Wildlife Research Area in Clinton/Shiawasse counties.  A few days later, John Douglass and I drove to the site, and found quite a few individuals along the paths that ring the bog.  We collected several, and were able to watch these small dragonflies do their thing.  It was interesting to see how well they blended in with the brown leaves on the forest floor.   I estimate that I saw 30 individuals as I walked the trail.  They also don't fly much higher than knee height, so one needs to look down to find them. We were there at the tail end of their season, and I expect to return there in early May this year and have a look.  This population greatly extends the range of W. lintneri in Michigan from the W side of the state to the E side.  Previously, Kent Co. was the furthest S we had seen this species.

Last summer was also a banner year for the Painted Skimmer, Libellula semifasciata!  I had never seen one in the wild until last year, and we had many reports coming in of it being present in numbers never before recorded.  In the early days of the MOS effort, I was convinced that this species was quite rare in Michigan. No, it is not, and it remains to be seen if these numbers stay the same.  We had several localities for Painted Skimmers in Washtenaw Co., and it was numerous in the Fox Science Center wetlands, away from the main ponds.  I also collected it at the edge of the bog  at Rose Lake in Clinton Co. I was standing (barely) in the bog myself, and saw several within reach, and finally netted one.  Darrin O'Brien and Julie Craves saw them frequently, as well.

Painted Skimmers may just be the prettiest species of Libellula I have seen.  This photo was taken on June 6, and while they appear to be a late-spring early summer species, I also collected a female at Fox Science Preserve in mid-July.  So, this should be an interesting year.  Will they be as abundant and widespread as last year?

Work progresses towards writing the Michigan Odonata Atlas, but both Julie and I have had time limitations due to work and other issues.  Darrin O'Brien has been geo-referencing the Michigan localities, and this will be very useful for us to create dot maps of actual collecting events.

Matt Hysell, Jeff Sommer, Julie and Darrin, Bob Marr, Jorie O'Brien, and Rhyne Rutherford collected for the MOS last season, bringing many good records.  Matt Hysell, especially, has been collecting in the somewhat neglected Berrien and Allegan counties.  Darrin O'Brien recollected Tachopteryx thoreyi at Warren Woods, and is going to be on the hunt this summer for other populations in SW Michigan.

The season is starting up here, and I had better get ready myself.  Happy Ode hunting!


David Marvin said...

I am out at Rose Lake weekly and will keep you posted if I see the the Boghaunters again. I was also excited about the Painted Skimmers out there last year. There were a ton of them and Four-Spotted Skimmers in that area near the Boghaunter bog.

Mark O'Brien said...

Nice to run into you today, David! Darrin caught a male ringed boghaunter about 6 feet up a tree trunk.