25 June 2012

Lord of the Mayflies

Mid-June seems to be a good time to look for Cobra Clubtail (Gomphus vastus) in Michigan.  I decided to check the Huron River mouth area at the edge of Lake Erie on June 17th.  A county park (Riverside) and state game area (Pte. Mouillee) are located at this boundary of Wayne and Monroe Counties.  There are plenty of perching areas for the clubtail, but I'm not sure if the habitat (water quality, flow, etc.) are appropriate.

Knowing my time was limited due to an approaching storm front, I quickly checked the Wayne County areas with no luck, and the winds picked up from the SE.  I then headed over to the Nelson Unit on the Monroe County side.  The levees provide decent areas that are sheltered from a southerly wind, and there is plenty of riprap and driftwood for dragonfly perches.  (Why didn't I take any photos of this?)

I picked along the downwind edge, but no luck finding any gomphids.  (I'll have check up the Detroit River in the future).  However, these areas at Pte. Moo were loaded with 1000s of Blue Dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis) and 100s of Halloween Pennants (Celithemis eponina).  Here is a dorsal view of one male pennant:

I flushed one reddish-colored saddlebags (Tramea sp.), but couldn't get an ID.  There was also one male Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea).  My first for the year:

While wandering the levees, the mayflies (Order Ephemeroptera) kept landing on my arms and net.  I decided to take a non-flattering photo at the end of the hot, sweaty hike to show at least sixteen hitchhikers:

... and this was after I had picked many off my arms and chest.  There were more than a dozen on my pack too.

No comments: