31 August 2008

Walkin' In The River

Today I decided to search for a species that is missing on the Wayne County dragonfly list, the Swift (or Illinois) River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis).

Through the years, Lower Huron Metropark has been a great place for finding Royal River Cruisers (Macromia taeniolata). However, this is the rarer of the two Macromia species found in Michigan and the only species recorded for the county to date.

The Huron River is very low this year due to the lack of rain this summer so I decided to walk up the river from the North Fishing Site. This is an area of the river I had not investigated previously and I hoped to find something new. Here's a picture of the typical scene. (note that I'm in an urban area...several tires were observed along my walk).

Shortly after entering the water I saw a clubtail fly past me. In a few minutes, I was able to confirm this as a male Arrow Clubtail (Stylurus spiniceps).

I saw 5 to 6 more Arrow Clubtails which were patrolling their own areas of the partially shaded sections of the river.

During one of my scans of the sunlit areas of the river, I spied a river cruiser about 50 yards away. It took awhile to trudge upstream in the knee-deep water, but the male seemed to check me out soon after my arrival. I netted it for an ID. Unfortunately, this was a male Royal River Cruiser (M. taeniolata).


No additional species of dragonflies were found until I was almost back to the starting point. I scared up a male Arrow Clubtail that fought with another male. Then, much to my surprise, a third clubtail joined the melee and it was a male Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to obtain a photo, but this is a new location for this species in the county.

I missed my target species, but found a new location for a special species. Not a bad day in/on the river.

17 August 2008

Plagiatus Central

Today, Nannothemis and I did another dragonfly survey at Humbug Marsh of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge near Trenton, Michigan.

The Common Green Darner (Anax junius) swarm was spectacular with 100's in the air at any point in time. There were also a couple other species flying with them such as Wandering Glider (Pantela flavascens) and Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata).

We found a few Shadow Darners (Aeshna umbrosa), doing what they do in the shadows.

However, the highlight of the afternoon was the number of Russet-tipped Clubtails (Stylurus plagiatus). During a one-hour survey in the vicinity of the Detroit River, 91 individuals were found perched on the various woody plants, mountain mint, and this Cottonwood.

This is the largest population of this species that we've found and Nannothemis has posted a request for any information of other populations in the latest Williamsonia (newsletter of the Michigan Odonata Survey).

A couple more Oregon odes.

Unfortunately, Nannothemis and I didn't find many dragonflies while in the Portland, OR area. Here are a couple other individuals we photographed.

An unidentified female Spreadwing (Lestes sp.):

More Pacific Forktails (Ischnura cervula), such as this female:

...and finally, here is one of the few Eight-spotted Skimmers (Libellula forensis):

07 August 2008

Urban Portland Odes

Nannothemis and I are attending the AOU conference in Portland, OR. We are managing some time to look for insects, but with limited success.

Yesterday, we visited the Portland Audubon office/store in Forest Park. This park is the largest urban forest reserve in the US. The sanctuary near the Audubon facilities includes a pond next to Balch Creek.

We were immediately treate with a couple of male Cardinal Meadowhawks (Sympetrum illotum) fighting over their small territories.

Here's one obelisking.


We also saw several Pacific Forktails (Ischnura cervula).
Here are a couple photos of males.




...and a female

We also saw one or two darners patrolling the pond, but we never could get a decent look for an ID.

Tomorrow we should have time to check an area or two near the Columbia River. Hopefully, we'll find more species.