Swarm Sunday (on Monday): 1/1/14 to 5/31/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

It’s time once again to start posting Swarm Sunday posts, though I’m a day late on the first one.  Things have been about average so far this year, with the usual handful of swarms that have occurred already.  So far this year, swarms have been reported in the following locations:

USA:

Palm Desert, CA
Sacramento, CA (2 swarms)
Ft. Myers Beach, FL
Sanford, NC
Vass, NC
Wake Forest, NC
Wilmington, NC (2 swarms)
Winston-Salem, NC (2 swarms)
Alexandria, VA

Australia:

Two Rocks, WA

And here’s the map:

dragonfly swarms 1.1.14 to 5.31.14

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

As you can see, the bulk of the activity so far has occurred on the east coast, specifically in my own state of NC.  Now, I’ll admit that it’s hard to tell if that is because there really have been more swarms here than in any other state or because I’m here and talk about my project with a lot of people, so there are a lot of people out looking for swarms.  It will be interesting to see what happens over the next month or so!  Normally I’d expect to see more swarms in the Deep South, especially Florida, by now, but there’s just been one report from that part of the country.  Interestingly, there have already been three reports made from California, which usually doesn’t get many swarms at all.  I’ll be keeping and eye out on California this year to see if it’s a higher than average year there or not.

The swarm season is just now getting started, so start looking out for swarms!  If you see one, follow the link below to report it.  It just takes a few moments, and every bit of data improves the story I’ll be able to tell once I start publishing all this.  And, because this is my fifth year of data collection, I’m going to start publishing after this season.  I hope it’s a great 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!

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

Swarm Sunday: 9/29/2013 – 10/5/2013

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

There are still some swarm reports coming in, but things were pretty slow again this week.  Swarms were reported from these locations:

USA:

DeSoto, MO
Raleigh, NC
Utica, OH
Astoria, OR
Newport, OR
Yachats, OR
Charleston, SC
Pearland, TX
Falls Church, VA

And here’s the map:

Swarm map 9.29.13 to 10.5.13Red pins are static swarms, blue pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

This week was a little surprising to me, for two reasons.  First, there were more reports than I expected, and nearly all of them came from northern regions of the country.  I didn’t expect to get any swarm reports from the northern US for the rest of the year.  Second, there was a second migration on the west coast with thousands more dragonflies flying down the Oregon coast over the last few days.  That seems odd, especially considering the migratory movement down the coat in August was so huge.  I didn’t think there would even be that many dragonflies left!  But there were multiple reports, so it was a big enough event for people to notice.

On the home front, we had a few cool days last week and the dragonflies all but disappeared.  I thought they were gone for the year, that we’d just see a few more here and there.  Then, it warmed back up and a few days later I saw my first swarm of the year!  There were massive numbers of little flies and other flying insects darting around over the grass as the sun began sinking toward the horizon and the dragonflies were eagerly taking advantage of the bounty.  It wasn’t a very big swarm, just a dozen individuals, but I was still excited as I haven’t seen a swarm all year in spite of going out to look for them every time I felt the conditions were right.  There was also a big bunch of chimney swifts flying up above the dragonflies.  I never saw a swift go after a dragonfly, so I can only presume that they were eating the same insects as the dragonflies.  This behavior is reported for swifts and swallows all the time, so it’s nice to see it in person from time to time.

The season is likely really over in the areas of the country that had blizzards last week, but apparently there are still a lot of dragonflies out and about in other areas.  Report any swarms you see!  This season has proven to be very strange, but really interesting, so I’m eager to get as many late season swarm reports as I can!

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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: 9/22/2013 – 9/28/2013

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Well, it was another slow week for dragonfly swarms last week!  Swarms were reported from these locations:

USA:

Augustine, FL
Cape San Blas, FL
Panama City Beach, FL
St. Albans, NY
Soddy Daisy, TN
Comfort, TX
Port Aransas, TX (2 reports)
San Leon, TX

And here’s the map:

9.22.13 - 9.28.13

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

As you can see, the bulk of the activity (what little there was) occurred in the southern parts of the US, with only a few reports from anything more than a few miles from a southern coast.  Considering most of the swarms reported this week were migratory, and most of them occurred in the southern US, I am now mostly convinced that the migration is almost over and we will see very little additional swarm activity until next summer.  I’ll likely get a few more reports trickling in over the next couple of weeks, but it looks like things are slowing down for the winter.

Still, if you see a swarm, report it!  There are still some dragonflies out and about and you never know where there might be a swarm!

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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 (Part 2): 9/8/2013 – 9/14/2013

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

As promised, here is the overdue data for the week of 9/8/2013, the biggest week of the year so far – and likely the biggest week of the 2013 season.  Swarms occurred in the following locations:

USA:  
Burlington CO
Branford CT
Ocoee FL
Panama City Fl
The Villages FL
Davenport IA
Maquoketa IA
Chiacgo Ridge IL
Coal city IL
Downers Grove IL
Elk Grove Village IL
Evanston IL
Frankfort IL
Oak Lawn IL
Park Ridge IL
Stockton IL
Sycamore IL
Virginia IL
Western Springs IL
Chicago IL (6 reports)
Columbia City IN
Peru IN
Wayne IN
Largo IN (2 reports)
Shreveport LA
Marshfield MA
Vineyard Haven MA
Clayton MI
Horton MI
Hudson MI
Reading MI
St Quincy MI
Manchester MO
Grand Island NE
Lincoln NE
Omaha NE (2 reports)
Papillion NE
Waverly NE
Oswego NY
Tomkins Cove NY
Akron OH
Austintown OH (2 reports)
Avon Lake OH
Bellevue OH
Canfield OH
Clintonville OH
Columbus OH (2 reports)
Danville OH
Edon OH
Fairview Park OH
Farmersville OH
Farmington OH
Fostoria OH
Fremont OH
Germantown OH (2 reports)
Haviland OH
Homer OH
Lakewood OH
Loudonville OH
Louisville OH (4 reports)
Lower Salem OH
Marion OH
Massillon OH
Mentor on the Lake OH
Mesopotamia OH (2 reports)
Middletown OH (2 reports)
Milan OH
Mount Vernon OH
Newark OH
Newton Falls OH
North Jackson OH
Norton OH
Payne OH
Petersburg OH
Pickerington OH
Randolph OH
Scio OH
Springfield OH
St. Paris OH
Tallmadge OH
Toledo OH (5 reports)
Warren OH (2 reports)
Wellington OH
Willard OH
Youngstown OH
Erie PA
Greencastle PA
Huntingdon PA (2 reports)
Lewistown PA
McVeytown PA
Mt. Union PA
Pittsburgh PA (4 reports)
West Middlesex PA
Sewanee TN
Houston TX
Spearman TX
Roanoke VA
   
CANADA:  
Toronto ON
   
INDIA  
Bangalore  

And here’s the map:

9.8.13 - 9.14.13

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

Nearly all the swarms reported during the week of September 8 were reported from just three days, Sept 10-12, with most taking place on Sept 11.  Sept 11 was a really big swarm day!  However, nearly all swarms reported during the week were also static feeding swarms, NOT migratory swarms as one would expect at this time of year.  There were a lot of dragonflies out and about, but few people reported them on the move. 

You’ll notice that the majority of swarms occurred in the upper Midwest, specifically in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  Could this potentially mark the start of a large migration still to come?  It’s possible, and time will tell whether the people who reported these swarms were seeing dragonflies on evening stopovers during their migrations or there were simply a lot of dragonflies active those few nights.  I suspect the latter was true, that we might still see some southward movement of the dragonflies this year, but we’ll have to wait and see what the next few weeks bring.  It’s starting to cool down in many places in the country, so the end of the season is almost upon us.

Don’t forget to report any late-season swarms you see!  The season might be over, as it usually is at this time of year, but there’s a chance we’ll see one more burst of activity.  With your help, we can figure out which of these scenarios is more likely, so keep sending in your reports!

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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 (Part 1): 9/15/2013 – 9/21/2013

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Wow, last week was a bear!  Between the conference last weekend, prepping for BugFest yesterday, and back to back responsibilities at work all week, I had next to no free time.  That meant I had zero time to blog, which is unfortunate considering the week of September 8th was the biggest week of swarms to date! You’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to see the data for that big week, however, as it’s taking forever to process the information and get it uploaded. I’m admitting to myself that I’m not going to finish tonight! Still, I want to bring you SOMETHING this week, so here are the swarms that occurred over the past seven days:

USA:

Chico, CA
Navarre, FL
Vicksburg, MS
Greenlawn, NY
Swannanoa, NC
Culloden, WV

And here’s the map:

9.15.13-9.21-13

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

Compared to the last two weeks, this was a slowwwww week!  Only 6 swarms reported nationwide, which is practically nothing. The swarms also appeared to be rather randomly distributed, with no obvious pattern to their locations.  

After the last two weeks, this week’s showing seems disappointing, but it is getting to be the right time of year for the end of the dragonfly season.  I don’t know about the rest of the country, but it’s cooled down a lot in my part of the North Carolina over the last few days and the dragonflies have all but disappeared with the arrival of the fall-like weather. I suspect similar things are happening in many other locations as well.

What an odd year!  The dragonfly season was very slow to begin, then everything swarm-related happened in one little flurry of activity over about 2 1/2 weeks.  Now it looks like we’re already at the end of the season.  Very strange!  But that’s part of what makes science interesting, the unpredictability of it all and new discoveries around every turn.

If you see a swarm, I hope you’ll report it!  We’re heading into the fall and the activity will likely remain low over the next few weeks before it peters out completely, but I’d love to see a few more late-season swarms reported.  Let me know if you see one!

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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 (on Tuesday) – 9/1/2013 – 9/7/2013

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Swarm Sunday is here!  A little late, but hey – I worked on Sunday and have been swamped with work since, so it just hasn’t happened yet.  Regardless, last week was a great swarm week with dragonfly swarms reported from the following locations:

USA:

Felton, CA
Ormond Beach, FL
Pensacola, FL
Amboy, IL
Collinsville, IL (2 reports)
Dixon, IL
Granite City, IL
O’Fallon, IL
Riverside, IL
Yorkville, IL
Lake Station, IN
Leopold, IN
Logan, IA
Rantoul, KS
Brownsville, KY
Elizabethtown, KY
Pikeville, KY
South Berwick, ME
Cambridge, MA
Faucett, MO
Foristell, MO
Ladue, MO
Strasburg, MO
Frenchtown, MS
Bozeman, MT
Lincoln, NE
Bald Head Island, NC (2 reports)
Topsail Beach, NC (3 reports)
Brooklyn, NY
Lido Beach, NY
Long Beach, NY
Wantagh, NY (2 reports)
Pond Creek, OK
Astoria, OR
Depoe Bay, OR
Garibaldi, OR
Gleneden Beach, OR (2 reports)
Manzanita, OR
Neskowin, OR
Newport, OR (10 reports)
Rockaway Beach, OR (7 reports)
Seaside, OR
Waldport, OR
Warrenton, OR
Yachats, OR (2 reports)
Wellsboro, PA
Charleston, SC
Isle of Palms, SC (2 reports)
Brookings, SD
Crooks, SD
Sioux Falls, SD
Grayford, TX
Little Elm, TX
Miami, TX
Long Beach, WA (2 reports)
Ocean Shores, WA (4 reports)
North Cove, WA
Tokeland,  WA (2 reports)
Racine, WI

And here’s the map:

9.1.13 - 9.7.13

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

Some really cool things happened this week!  First, I’d like to draw your attention to that massive line of blue pins on the northwestern coast.  That represents a huge western migration of Sympetrum corruptum, the variegated meadowhawk.  That species migrates every year in that area, but some years it is more noticeable to non-entomologists/odonate enthusiasts than others.  This year was a really noticeable year!  Look up at the list of reports from Oregon and Washington and you’ll see that there were a lot of reports, and most of those came in over a two-day period.  It was a really impressive migration!  I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to see it in person.

The second thing you’ll notice is that though there are few migratory movements represented in the midwestern US, most of the static swarms were located along the major midwestern rivers.  That’s a good indication that the midwestern migratory species are on the move too.  Those swarms are often made up mostly of green darners (Anax junius), but several people reported black dragonflies in their swarms.  That suggests that the black saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) might be moving too.  The migration appears to have begun!  And after last year’s migratory non-event, it’s already shaping up to be a more impressive migration.

There was a smaller event in my area of the country, with a few migratory swarms reported in North and South Carolina.  I had intended to rush out to the coast to see the migration as soon as there was good evidence that the migration was happening, but there wasn’t a big swell in reports as I’d expect for a major migratory movement and I decided not to go.  I’d expect something more like what I saw from the northwest if there were enough dragonflies to warrant the drive to the coast.  I’m hoping we’ll get more dragonflies moving in over the next few weeks, especially as there hasn’t been a lot of movement of the dragonflies in the northeast yet.  I might still have an opportunity to observe the migration!

So, an exciting week of dragonfly activity!  One of the people who saw the western migration in Oregon got a video of the swarm, so I want to finish up this post with that video.  It’s shaky, but it gives you a really good idea of what the flow of dragonflies looked like.   There were reports of up to 500 dragonflies per minute flying along the Oregon coast, so this was a darned impressive event:

Keep sending in data!  This is the best time of year to have a chance to see a swarm, a time of great dragonfly activity all over the country.  If you see a swarm, I hope you’ll report it!

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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 (on Monday) – 8/25/2013 – 8/31/2013

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Swarm Sunday is here!  Dragonfly swarms were reported from the following locations last week:

USA:

Jacksonville Beach, FL
Spring Hill, FL
Wellington, FL
Evanston, IL
Lamoille, IL
Overland Park, KS
Winchester, KS
Fryeburg, ME
Cannon Falls, MN
Cameron, MO
Kansas City, MO
Lees Summit, MO
Magnet, NE
Omaha, NE (2 reports)
Eagle Butte, SD (2 reports)
Pennington, SD
Rapid City, SD (4 reports)
St. Onge, SD
Spearfish, SD (4  reports)
Sturgis, SD
Brooklyn, WI
Juneau, WI
Lake Mills, WI
Spring Green, WI
Viroqua, WI
Watertown, WI
Whitefish Bay, WI

And here’s the map:

8.25.13 - 8.31.13

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

Now that’s a little more like it!  This is supposed to be the start of the migratory season and almost nothing has happened yet this year.  We finally got three big events this week, and all in the northern Midwest.  Apart from Wisconsin, this area of the country has been largely devoid of swarms this year, so it’s interesting that there has been a surge in reports over the last week.  What I can’t tell yet is whether this is the start of the migration, or whether everything is simply happening late and the migration will start in another few weeks.  There haven’t been any major movements down the east coast yet, so I suspect that the migration will start later.  But, I need more data to be sure!

So, keep sending in data!  This has proven to be a very interesting (if slow) year, and every new report helps.  Until next week!

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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