Swarm Sunday: 11/9/14 – 11/22/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

 

Just a few swarms to report from the last few weeks:

USA:

Tracy, CA

Spain:

Estepona

And here is the US map for the last two weeks:

Swarm map 11.8.14 to 11.22.14

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

Only 2 swarms in two weeks, but both were migratory, including one international sighting in Spain.  At this point I’ll be surprised if we see any more swarming in the northern hemisphere before the end of the year, but please do report swarms if you see them!  Any northern swarms from here through March will be very exciting.

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 10/26/14 – 11/8/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

 

The swarming activity is going way down as the weather begins to cool, but swarm reports came in from the following locations over the past few weeks:

USA:

Shadow Hills, CA
Piscataway, NJ
Manhatten, KS

Argentina:

Mar Del Plata

And here is the US map for the last two weeks:

 

2014 10 27 to 11 8

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

Only 4 swarms in two weeks, so the swarming activity is clearly slowing down.  It is getting cooler in many parts of the country and the abundance of dragonflies is going down with it.  But, there are still a few dragonflies out there!  The two American static swarms took place fairly far north, and there was even one migratory swarm in California.  These swarms are quite late in the year (four weeks late!) and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get just a few more.  That’s super cool!

So keep looking for a few weeks more and report any swarms you see!  Would love to have a swarm report from the middle of November, just to see if it’s possible.

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 10/1/14 – 10/26/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

I am all kinds of behind on my weekly swarm reports, but I’m trying to get caught up!  Rather than bombard you all with a bunch of swarm posts all at once, today I am going to focus only on the swarms that have been reported so far this month. I’ll post the other weeks as weekly swarm posts, but I am going to backdate them so that they fit in where they should have earlier this summer.  Once I get them posted, I’ll make another post here that includes links to all of these new posts containing the data from August and September.  Then because the season is mostly over now, I’ll start my yearly wrap-up posts.  Getting caught up!  Woo!

Swarm reports came from the following locations in October:

USA:

Anniston, AL
Orange Beach, AL
Weed, CA
Hoschton, GA
Rolla, MO
Lexington, SC
Coldspring, TX
Denton, TX
Plano, TX
Talty, TX
Waxahachie, TX

Thailand:

Chaloklum, Koh Phagnan

And here is the map for the month:

Dragonfly swarms 2014 10 1 to 26

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

Most of the activity that has taken place this month has, unsurprisingly, taken place in the southern US, with one notable American exception in northern California and a foreign swarm in Thailand (new country, and brings the total up to 26!).  Swarm reports have slowed way down, as expected at this time of year, but I did receive a report of a swarm that took place today.  That is quite late for a dragonfly swarm in the US and supports my idea that the swarm season would be shifted a few weeks later this year. Normally the last report trickles in around mid-October, but there were several reports submitted at that time and a few more reported after that date.  Interesting!

The Dragonfly Swarm Project is still going strong, even if I haven’t been able to get the data online in a timely manner recently, so please keep sending in your reports if you see swarms.  These late season swarms are quite interesting, so keep an eye out for unseasonable swarming in your area!

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 7/20/14 – 7/26/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

We’re still moving along fairly slowly this year.  In the past week, I received reports from the following locations:

USA:

Bulterville, AR
Los Angeles, CA
Madison, CT (2 reports)
Long Beach, NY
Port Washington, WI

Canada:

Saskatoon, SK

And here is the map:

swarm map 7.20.14 to 7.26.14

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

The few swarms reported this week were spread all over everywhere, so it’s hard to even say anything that will wrap up the week.  Here’s my summary of last week’s data: there were some swarms.  :)

The Dragonfly Swarm Project has been selected as one of the Projects of the Day on SciStarter.com this week and next!  In case you all aren’t familiar with SciStarter, it’s an awesome citizen science project aggregator that anyone can use to find citizen science projects that interest them.  Apparently the blog post I wrote for them in 2011 is the all time most popular blog post on their site, so they’re helping me build up some buzz about dragonfly swarms this summer.  It’s always nice to get some help!

We should be headed into the peak season for swarms here shortly, so be sure to report any you see!  I’m hoping it’s going to get really exciting soon.

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

_______________

Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Friday 5: Staying Up WAY Too Late This Week

It’s National Moth Week!  Woo!  I’ve been up late every night this week watching moths and have been averaging about 5 hours of sleep nightly, so I’m a wee bit tired this late in the week.  It’s been quite the adventure too!  I started the week with my big, public moth viewing event for the museum where I work.  It didn’t rain this year for the first time, and we had over 100 people come out to the field station to watch moths.  A good half of them stayed past 10PM, none of which has happened before.  I did, however, inhale and swallow the very first moth that came to the sheet that night.  That was a little rough going down…  I also got some stinging insect stuck between my neck and my camera strap, and I’ve still got a good-sized welt on my neck from that encounter.  I came home with a tick happily sucking blood out of my armpit.  I’ve had bugs fly into my eyes and my ears and my mouth.  More moths than I can count have ended up down my shirt, which I don’t even understand given that I have about 4 square inches of skin exposed and look like I’m about to mount an Everest expedition in an attempt to avoid mosquito bites.  I’ve been wearing a SCARF for goodness sake!  I’m not sure why I even bother – I’ve gotten a good dozen mosquito bites anyway, THROUGH my long pants and my heavy wool socks.  (Seriously?!)  I’ve had all manner of problems with my light rigs too.  My first night at home, I set up my reliable little DC voltage blacklight bulb with my portable jump starter and things went well.  The next night, the jump starter died and I can’t get it working again.  I put a CFL blacklight bulb into my porch light in my backyard the next night, and the light fixture died.  Last night it rained so hard that it pulled my whole sheet rig down so I was out in my yard at 1AM trying to get it repositioned so it could actually dry out in time for tonight.  Tonight I’ve got a CFL bulb in a cheapo clip light clipped to a shepherd’s crook and a huge extension cord running into my house because the electrical outlet under the light fixture is ALSO out.

I’m not sure what else can go wrong at this point, but I’m still having a great time!  I go out with my camera several times every night, happily looking for the things coming to my sheets.  I have found dozens of species at my lights each night, though I’m still hoping a few of the big moths will show up.  I have a cruddy yard for insects, but there’s a big patch of forest about 100 feet away on the other side of the street.  Surely I’ll get at least one big moth, right?

These are my favorites moths and moments so far from National Moth Week 2014:

Day 1: Moths at Night Event at Prairie Ridge Ecostation

Beautiful wood nymph

Beautiful wood nymph

We were just getting packed up after our public moth viewing evening at work when I spotted this moth sitting on the ledge that runs along the inside of our outdoor classroom building.  A beautiful wood nymph!  It’s a gorgeous name for a pretty moth, though there’s no denying the fact that they look just like bird poop…

Day 2: Mothing at Home, Part I

Elegant grass-veneer

Elegant grass-veneer

When your yard is all grass, it’s not entirely surprising when you get mostly grass-loving moth species coming to your lights.  The elegant grass-veneer is about the only small moth I can actually recognize, but it’s quite lovely if you take a close look at it.  It’s all shimmery and has gold flecks and fringes and fluffy bits sticking off the front.  Not bad for something that crawls out of my grass to come to my lights!

Day 3: Mothing at Home, Part II

unknown moth

unknown moth

The moth-related highlight of day 3 was getting a photo from a dad who came to the moth night at Prairie Ridge.  He had brought his kid with him and they stayed for most of the 4 hours we were open for moth viewing.  He and his kid went out the very next morning and bought their own blacklights and had set them up in their backyard immediately.  They got a great photo of a tulip tree silk moth (oh how I wish I was getting anything that big!) and asked if I knew what it was because they were going to send their photos off to a citizen science project.  There is absolutely nothing more gratifying than knowing that at least two people took what you taught them and put it to use after you parted ways!  The dad has since told me that his kid gets up early and goes to check the lights every morning now.  That’s just awesome!  I also saw the absolutely gorgeous moth in the photo at my light on my second night mothing at home.  I have no idea what it is and I didn’t get it perfectly framed, but it’s quite beautiful!

Day 4: Mothing at Home, Part III

Hebrew

Hebrew

Day 4 was when my porch light went out.  I was happy to get anything, and this was easily the most impressive moth of the night.  That’s a Hebrew, a very lovely member of the dagger moth group.  The host plant for this species is black gum, so I have no idea where this moth came from (the forest across the street is mostly pine), but I was happy it showed up.

Day 5: Mothing at Home, Part IV

ailanthus webworm moth

Ailanthus webworm moth

Most of the moths I’ve seen this week have been what I call LBM’s, or little brown moths.  Then these show up every night around 11PM and are easily among the top three most colorful moths I see each night. Ailanthus webworm moths get their name from an invasive species (tree of heaven) that they feed on, though they are native to the US and switched to their namesake host after it was introduced into the US.

I’ve got three more nights of mothing left before National Moth Week comes to a close.  I keep going back out to look because I really want to see just one big moth.  Speaking of which, it’s time to get back out there again tonight…

Any of you been out looking for moths this week?  Any great finds?  I would love to live vicariously through you if you’ll share your moth stories from National Moth Week 2014 below!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 7/6/14 – 7/19/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

I didn’t have a chance to post last week, so what you see here represents two weeks of data.  Swarm reports came from the following locations:

USA:

Scottsdale, AZ
Butlerville, AK
Chico, CA
Flagler, CO
Duluth, MN
Brick, NJ
Ocean City, NJ (2 reports)
Williamstown, NJ
Houston, TX
Pflugerville, TX
Rockwall, TX
Mathews, VA

Canada:

Calgary, AB (2 reports)
Miramichi, NB
Vulcan, AB

Ireland:

Celbridge, County Kildare

And here are the maps for the last two weeks:

swarms 7.6.14 to 7.12.14

7/6/14 to 7/12/14

 

swarms 7.13.14 to 7.19.14

7/13/14 to 7/19/14

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the maps to enlarge!

There has been a little upswing in activity in the past few weeks, which I’m excited about.  Over the last week, there were four migratory swarms (though only one really shows up on the map – two are under other pins and one is outside of North America), so there’s been at least a little movement.  Texas continues to have regular activity, New Jersey had a small event, and California showed up on the map last week.  The most exciting thing to me is the report from Ireland though!  That’s a new country for the Dragonfly Swarm Project and brings the total number of countries where swarms have been reported to 23.  There’s been a pretty even spread so far too, with all continents except Antarctica (for obvious reasons) and Africa (no idea why) well represented.

This last week, I got to talk about my project for an educational podcast geared at 4th and 5th graders, and I’ll post a link if I get public access to the final product online.  I’m also excited about some upcoming promotion of my project that I’ll tell you about once I know more details!  It’s fun spreading the word about dragonfly swarms and what it’s like doing insect behavior work with citizen scientists, so I’m looking forward to sharing the results of these with you all in the next few weeks.

If the trend from the past four years holds true, we’re coming up on peak season for dragonfly swarms here soon.  It will be very interesting to see what happens, so send in your data!  I can’t wait to see what happens this season!

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

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Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

_______________

Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Swarm Sunday: 6/22/14 to 7/5/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

I didn’t have a chance to post last week, so what you see here represents two weeks of data.  Swarm reports came from the following locations:

USA:

Leesburg, FL
Miami Beach, FL
Milton, FL
Parkland, FL
Livermore, ME
Marbury, MD
West Bend, MD
Lakeway, TX
Ogden, UT
Williamsburg, VA

And here are the maps for the last two weeks:

6.22.14 to 6.28.14

6/22/14 through 6/28/14

6.29.14 to 7.5.14

6/29/14 through 7/5/14

 

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

It continues to be a little slow so far this year, though there was one migratory swarm reported from Utah this week, which is exciting.  There has been rather consistent activity in the southeastern part of Texas over the last month, though nothing really extraordinary seems to be happening anywhere so far.  Hurricane Arthur didn’t even seem to stir anything up!  I’m still hoping things will pick up soon, but you never know.

One thing has disturbed me though.  In the past several years, green darners have made appearances in swarms over and over again.  They often form the bulk of swarms.  This year, very few people have described anything that sounds like a green darner from their swarms.  I’ve also started to hear some ominous rumblings on the odonate listservs and Facebook pages where people have started to ask where the green darners are this year.  People have really started to notice their near absence, which isn’t good.  We typically have a lot of darners at the pond at the field station where I work, but this year I haven’t seen many at all, maybe 5 or 6 total.  At this time of year, we should have 5-6 on the pond every day, not 5-6 for the entire season!  There’s always a chance things are just terribly late this year and things will normalize at some point, but I’ve personally noticed some weird things happening this year.  Monarchs are out in North Carolina in droves right now, and they’re normally long gone for the heat of the summer, having migrated further north.  The common milkweed is going absolute gangbusters, but there are several conspicuously common butterflies (eastern tiger swallowtails and pipevine swallowtails among them) that are well below their normal numbers this year.  Fireflies are STILL out here, and the June bugs emerged a week or two early.  Have any of you noticed similar things out of whack in your area?  I shouldn’t extrapolate what I’m seeing in North Carolina to the rest of the country, even the rest of the east coast, but I’ve heard enough from other entomologists on social media to think that this is going to be an odd year.  It will be interesting to see if this ends up being a weird swarming year too!

Keep reporting those swarms!  Was very pleased to see swarm reports from several regular readers over the last couple of weeks.  Thanks everyone!!

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Have you seen a dragonfly swarm? I am tracking swarms so I can learn more about this interesting behavior.  If you see one, I’d love to hear from you!  Please visit my Report a Dragonfly Swarm page to fill out the official report form.  It only takes a few minutes! Thanks!

_______________

Want more information? Visit my dragonfly swarm information page for my entire collection of posts about dragonfly swarms!

_______________

Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth