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.

No comments: