01 August 2009

A Truly Tiny Urban Ode

This year Nannothemis and I have been keeping an eye on a corner Ford Motor Company property in our city of Dearborn. During spring migration, a couple species of shorebirds utilized this small wet spot along an edge of "no mow" zone that was planted with wildflowers a couple years ago.

I had observed Lyre-tipped Spreadwings (Lestes unguiculatus) at this location in early July. Returning on July 10th, I not only found the Lestes again, but to my surprise there were a few dozen recently emerged Citrine Forktails (Ischnura hastata). Here are a couple individuals:

...and the habitat...
and surroundings:

The Ford World Headquarters is visible in the distance in the upper right of the photo above.

We initially found this species in Michigan back in 2002 and subsequently at several locations covering three counties, but not every year. This is the first time we've found this smallest damselfly of the US in our own city.

New Species for Humbug Marsh

On July 5, 2009, Nannothemis and I made a visit to the Humbug Marsh Unit of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in hopes of finding a Cobra Clubtail (Gomphus vastus) as we had last year.

We searched the open areas near the Detroit River with no luck finding the target clubtail, but we did see the first Russet-tipped Clubtails (Stylurus plagiatus) of the year. In all there were at least six individuals (three males and three females). Here is one of the females:

On our way back to the vehicle, Nannothemis spotted a female Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum). This marks the 45th species for the unit since starting surveys here a few years ago.

I'm sure there are more to find in the coming years as there are plans to daylight a drain and create pond areas in a portion of the unit.