21 December 2004

I saw a county record, and didn't even get a photo

As I write this, it's bitterly cold and all the ponds and even the Rouge River are frozen. It seems like a long time until I can swing a net at a dragonfly again. But yesterday my buddy Steve Ross (dragonmaster of Mecosta County, MI, and the guy who first got me interested in odes) told me:

Recalibrated my ode calendar this morning. Only 3.5 months to the first Common Green Darner and, if a warm spring, only four months to the first native emergence.
Steve and I agreed that 2004 was not a good year for odes. Perhaps the cool, very wet spring had an impact on emergence. Whatever the reason, abudance and diversity were lacking. I thought I'd start this blog with the last good find of summer 2004 in Wayne Co.

The least developed parts of the county are in the southwestern portion -- Sumpter Twp. is the southwestern- most 3 square miles, and Sherwood Park is an undeveloped park fashioned around a small lake which looks as if it was an old sand quarry. In late August, I headed for Sherwood Lake to see what I could find. I thought it was the most likely place for the only spreadwing I'd not yet found in the county: Lestes inaequalis. I looked up from my intent examination of shoreline vegetation to see a very large, fire-engine red darner muscle past...

Ah! Anax longipes -- the Comet Darner! One of our favorites. My husband and I found them in Lenawee Co., for a new county record; the only other place they'd been found in MI was in Livingston Co. Both locations were fishless ponds. Sherwood Lake is full of fish, and I suspect this thing just wandered there from somewhere else. It never came close enough to shore for me to net it. I returned several times over the next couple of weeks, and it was still there, taunting me. I once stood for ages in the soft muck well out from shore, but its patrols were not as predicatable as Macromia, for instance, and it never perched. Nor did my husband have any luck. This is one of only  three new species for the county that we were unable to voucher.

1 comment:

Xopher Xadin said...

I have never seen a comet darner so I'm jealous!