25 September 2008

Dragonflies of September

I both like and dislike September for odes. This month includes the last weeks of most dragonflies in southeast Michigan, but it includes the peak of some of my favorites such hanging clubtails (Stylurus sp.) and mosaic darners (Aeshna sp.).

While searching for Monarchs as noted in the previous post, I was also keeping an eye out for late season insects.

Knowing that we didn't have a good late date for Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus), I headed for the most reliable location in the refuge for this species. Almost immediately a female flew up from a waist-high dogwood and landed a few meters away. This individual extended the late date for Michigan by more than 2 weeks.

Several minutes later I found this 2nd female about 40m away. Thus, she is technically the late date S. plagiatus.

While wandering the fields of Tall Boneset looking for butterflies, this pair of Shadow Darners (Aeshna umbrosa) would repeatedly fly by, perch, then fly around a bit more and land again. For more than 30-40 minutes this pair was in the wheel.

At one point a male clubtail (Stylurus sp.) landed high up in a tree which was not a Russet-tipped. In past years, I've thought I may have seen Arrow Clubtails (S. spiniceps), but once again this individual was not in a position to make an ID. Thus, this species is still unconfirmed for this site.

While checking nearby trees, I did find a female clubtail which turned out to be an Elusive Clubtail (S. notatus). This was the 3rd or 4th time to see one in this area and only one of a couple dozen sightings for MI.

...and here's a closeup

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