04 November 2012

A Bit Distracted

Our 2012 field season was much abbreviated compared to a normal year.  Thus, we've had few (no) posts since July.  This was due to the activities involved with buying a house with acreage in rural Washtenaw County, Michigan. 

The property contains a good variety of habitats: conifers patches, hedgerows, grass lawn, old field, a seeded prairie (as of this fall), wet woods with vernal pools, and upland woods. 

Here's a view of a portion of the wet woods:

Unfortunately, we don't have a stream or large pond, but these features are present in the vicinity.  We did add all small water feature near the house that will likely be more attractive to thirsty or bathing birds.  We'll add some plants and may add a small pond to the feature in 2013.

There was one aquatic insect visitor prior to the frosts of fall.  This backswimmer (Notonecta irrorata)  showed up in October. A locust leave is next to it for a size comparison:

Given the little/no time for dragonfly hunting in the latter half of the summer, we did have one great discovery prior to the final purchase.  Back in June, while doing a walk around the property, we found the exuvia of a male Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros).  This is only one of two specimens we know of for Michigan.  It's unknown how often this species can successfully overwinter in our state.

2013 will be a year with more time available for exploring, although we'll do more hunting around our property since we have a great interest in documenting the flora and fauna of all varieties.  Our overall odonata list may be reduced, and we'll post some of the other bugs found around here.

Given the changes, maybe we'll need to change our name to Rural Dragon Hunters? 

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