20 July 2008

Another county, More records

Nannothemis and I decided to head down to Monroe County on July 20th. We wanted to investigate some potential locations along the Raisin River near Monroe, Michigan for Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus).

Our initial stop was Waterloo Park, which is west of Monroe. This park has great access to the river but not quite the same structure for Stylurus as we've seen previously. However, we did find insect activity along the banks of the river.
I immediately snagged a Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps):

Updates to Monroe County's odonata list from this stop included...

- Stream Bluet (Enallagma exsulans) - previous record was from 1917
- Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) - 1st county record
- and this Eastern/Common Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) - only a previous sight record

Our next stop was at the Navarre-Anderson Trading Post which is the oldest surviving wooden structure in Michigan and is just upstream from Waterloo Park.
Dancers (Argia sp.) and Stream Bluets (Enallagma exsulans) were numerous.
The most significant sighting was a pair of Blue-ringed Dancers (Argia sedula). These hadn't been previously recorded for the county.

Our last stop of the day was Munson Park which is located next to Custer Airport. This park has a pond, playground equipment, and soccer fields at the front end of the property. However, at the north end of the park is a large woodlot, an overgrown ditch/creek, and adjacent fields with wildflowers. During visits in previous years, we've found both Macromia species, Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata), and a likely Mocha Emerald (Somatochlora linearis). This visit also held surprises.

Immediately upon arriving at the overgrown ditch, I was greeted with several Common Whitetails (Libellula lydia) with a male Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans) sitting amongst them. (New county record!)

Unfortunately the big male flew away and I quickly searched the ditch to find more individuals. There were at least 3 males and 5 females/young males along a 100m length.
After a few minutes, I was able to snag one of the males for the 1st county voucher and the 6th for the state.
It's always fun to have excitement immediately upon arrival at a location. We didn't even explore the more interesting habitat of the forest and the fields.

We'll have to make it to Monroe County again since we didn't find any Stylurus on this trip. ...There is so much to find and learn in these under censused counties.

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