18 May 2014

Early Season Odes

I carried a net while counting birds for the May 10 International Migration Count in western Washtenaw County on private property.  The habitats included open fields, the River Raisin, a marsh, and vernal pools.

Breezes picked up by the time we arrived midday and we didn't find any dragonflies in the open areas.  While walking up a path through a transition area between the marsh and an upland pine grove, Julie spotted a Painted Skimmer (Libellula semifasciata) flit past and land. This female is only the 2nd specimen for the county and the 13th for the state.  The previous county voucher was also a female and found in 1936.

While looking for sparrows in a hayfield, I flushed one or two Common Green Darners (Anax junius).

Julie was checking out an old Hawthorne grove and in a clearing a young, female Springtime Darner (Basiaeschna janata) was found flying about.

... and the grassy opening it was working

Upon returning to the farmhouse, I spotted a small dragonfly in another grassy opening.

I was expecting a baskettail (Epitheca sp.), but it appeared a bit smaller.  Once in the hand we found it to be a young, female whiteface (Leucorrhinia sp.).  Once at home, we were able to confirm its identity as a Frosted Whiteface (L. frigida) based upon the shape of the subgenital plates.

After reviewing the MOS database, this appears to be the earliest date for an adult voucher in Michigan by seven days.

Not a bad outing considering that we weren't fully expecting to find dragonflies during the bird count.