Swarm Sunday: 6/28/15 – 7/4/15

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoHappy Fourth of July weekend to my American readers – and happy weekend to everyone else!  Let’s take a look at the dragonfly swarming activity of the last week, shall we?  Swarms occurred in the following locations:

USA:

Buckeye, AZ
Santa Barbara, CA
Boulder, CO
Broomfield, CO
Colorado Springs, CO
Denver, CO (2 swarms)
Highlands Ranch, CO
Hudson, CO
Lakewood, CO (2 swarms)
Loveland, CO
Melbourne, FL
Boise, ID
Homedale, ID
Grand Marais, MN
Clayton, NC
Bountiful, UT

Canada:

Thunder Bay, ON

And here is the US map for last week:

6.28.15 to 7.4.15

 

 

 

Click the map to enlarge!

Well, that’s not something you see everyday!  Look how many reports of US dragonfly swarms came from the west!  There is still a lot of action taking place along the Front Range in Colorado, as there was last week, with nearly all contributors reporting severe weather in the area.  There were also reports in Utah, Arizona, and Idaho, all of which rarely see swarms.  The two lone eastern static swarms took place in states bordering the Atlantic and there was a migratory event along the northern edge of Lake Superior recently as well.  Overall, a very odd week, so I can’t wait to see what happens next week!  Will it be another weird week with a lot of western swarms, or will the normal pattern of mostly eastern swarms reassert itself?

We’re heading into the peak season this week or next, so expect to see a larger list of swarms coming 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!

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

Swarm Sunday: 6/21/15 – 6/27/15

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoIt’s Sunday, so time for this week’s swarm report!  Swarms occurred in the following locations over the past week:

USA:

Mobile, AL
Aurora, CO
Boulder, CO
Broomfield, CO (2 swarms)
Centennial, CO
Denver, CO (3 swarms)
Longmont, CO
St. Charles, MO
Long Branch, NJ
Cayce, SC
Spokane, WA

Vietnam:

Hoi An

And here is the US map for last week:

swarm map 6.21.15 to 6.27.15

 

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

Clearly there’s something interesting going on in Colorado!  Everyone is reporting flooding and severe storms there, so it looks like a disturbance in the area is stirring up the dragonfly population pretty well.  That seems to happen periodically in Colorado – big storms or fires or floods produce big dragonfly events for a few weeks.  We’ll see if it lasts into next week.  Otherwise, just a few reports scattered across the country, i.e. the normal conditions for this time of year.  Also, a new country for the list where swarms have been reported to date: Vietnam!  That brings the total up to 31 countries, which really highlights the fact that a variety of species do this behavior and it’s not specific to a certain area or group of species.

The season should be picking up soon, so send in reports of any swarms you see!

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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

My Buggy Week (Friday 5 – a Day Late)

Happy weekend everyone!  I for one am quite thrilled to have a day off tomorrow.  The last week was exhausting and oh so hot.  But, the week was full of great buggy adventures too, so it wasn’t all bad!  Last weekend, for example, I ended up staying after work a couple of hours to photograph things.  This little grasshopper nymph was one of the things I saw:

Grasshopper

Hopper on the Gator

Isn’t he (or she) cute?  For me, few things beat heading out with my camera and seeing what I can find.  It’s a great way to see nature, keeps you in tune with seasonal shifts and the timing of biological events, and sometimes you’re lucky to see something amazing.  Like a groundhog 8 feet up a tree.  That I didn’t get a photo of.  Because I had my camera zipped up inside it’s carrying bag rather than in my hands when I wandered over to the area where I keep seeing groundhogs.  However, struggling to get my camera out for the groundhog means that I got a shot of this little guy moments later when the groundhog scampered away.  It’s no groundhog in a tree, but I was still happy to see it.

Last week involved a lot of teaching.  On Wednesday, I met with the new cohort of middle school teachers that will spend the next several weeks in the research labs at the museum where I work doing some real science.  Those teachers will spend the next year developing curriculum to get middle schoolers involved in citizen science.  It’s an awesome project, and we kicked things off with a ladybug hunt:

Ladybug hunters

Ladybug hunters

It was ghastly hot and late in the day, so a few of the teachers wilted a bit in the heat, but it was still a ton of fun.  Plus, they were the first group that has ever found more native ladybugs than non-native ladybugs at our field station.  I hope their results will be repeated with other groups!  Their data are headed to the Lost Ladybug project next week so it can be used in a variety of studies looking at the distribution of ladybug species and the interactions between native and non-native ladybugs.  I’ll work with this group again next week, with dragonflies next time!

On Thursday, I got to travel toward the coast and work with a group of 5th grade teachers exploring biodiversity and phenology (the study of biological events that occur periodically, such as flowering in plants or rearing young in animals).  The park where I met the group has this amazing cypress-gum swamp:

Swamp

Cypress-gum swamp at River Park North in Greenville, NC

If you haven’t ever seen a swamp like this, I highly encourage you to make a trip to see one!  They are amazing, biologically rich wonderlands.  The number of dragonflies flying around at this location was spectacular!  A lot of the teachers got photos of many of the species we saw and I’m looking forward to uploading them to our biodiversity project.  I also finally got to see a swamp darner in nature.  I was in the middle of talking to a group of teachers about a tree they were interested in when I saw it so I didn’t get a photo, but I was still thrilled to check it off my list!

We had a new group of summer campers at the field station this week, and I did a biodiversity activity with them.  The most popular find was this little guy, by a wide margin:

mantid

Mantid, I suspect of the Chinese persuasion, posing for photos with one of the camp leaders

All the kids swooped in with their iPads when I picked it up, venturing out into the hot sun so they could see it.  At one point it jumped energetically off my hands onto the iPad of a kid who was photographing it.  Scared the frass out of the kid, but he held it together long enough that he neither dropped the iPad nor crushed the mantid before I had a chance to take it back.  I was rather impressed by the kid’s ability to manage his fear.  Many of the other campers would have screamed and dropped the iPad if the same had happened to them.

And finally, yesterday meant another afternoon in the blissfully cool stream with the summer camp!

Kid collecting aquatic insects

Aquatic insect collecting

This boy was far and away the best insect hunter of the campers this week.  While his campmates were splashing around in the deeper water to avoid doing what we were actually there to do (looking for insects to assess the water quality), this kid was flipping rocks and sampling riffles and stirring up the substrate to find as many types of insects and other invertebrates as possible.  The stream doesn’t have many species in it, but he ended up finding most of the ones we know are in there: three types of caddisflies, riffle bugs, water striders, and crayfish.  We did also find one new thing, a damselfly in the genus Argia.  I’ve never found a damselfly in that stream that wasn’t an ebony jewelwing, so it was very exciting to hang out with a really happy kid and make new insect discoveries together!

And with that, I begin my weekend!  Anyone want to share an insect encounter they had this week that made you especially happy?  The swamp darner was my highlight, so I’d love to hear about yours!

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

Swarm Sunday: 6/14/15 – 6/20/15

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoThis week was a bit slow swarm-wise, but I thought I’d do a report anyway.  Swarms occurred in the following locations over the past week:

USA:

Boulder, CO
Interlochen, MI
Saint Ignace, MI
Willard, UT

And here is the US map for last week:

Swarm map 6.14.15 to 6.20.15

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

Just 4 swarms this week, so not a very exciting week.  Three of the swarms were near big lakes (including one near the Great Salt Lake) and one was quite far from any major bodies of water.  Hard to draw many conclusions from this week’s data apart from the fact that we’re still clearly in the slow part of the year.

If you see a swarm, the link to the report form is below!  I welcome reports of any and all swarms!

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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: 3/29/2015 – 6/13/15

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

The swarm activity has been rather slow over the last few months, so I’m combining a lot of dates into one report here rather than reporting just one or two swarms each week.  The following swarms have occurred between the end of May and today:

USA:

Goldstream, AK
Boulder, CO (2 swarms)
Homosassa, FL
Lexington, GA
Crystal Lake, IL
Bossier City, LA
Brownville, ME
Hugo, MN
St. Paul, MN
Spicer, MN
White Bear Township, MN
Bloomfield, MI
Bernardsville, NJ
Morris Plains, NJ
Greenville, NC
Lake Waccamaw, NC
Charleston, SC
Port Aransas, TX
Sheboygan, WI
Waupaca, WI

Thailand:

Sritanu, Ko Phangan

And here is the US map for the last month and a half:

3.30.15 to 6.13.15

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

Most of the early activity, as in past years, has been static swarming.  Looks like most of the swarms have taken place near bodies of water so far this year, near large lakes and along coastal areas and largely east of the Mississippi River.  It will be interesting to see if more swarms occur inland once the season really starts to pick up, as has happened in past years, or if everything is different this year.  I suspect we’ll see more swarms inland over the next few months, the usual pattern, but only time will tell.

Now that the swarm season has really begun, I’ll start posting more often.  In the meantime, keep sending in those swarm reports!  Every one matters and helps explain what’s going on just a little more.

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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

Blacklighting (Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday)

Know what makes for a good Wednesday evening?  This:

Blacklighting

Blacklighting

First “blacklighting” night of the year!  (I’m using the quotes because we only had a mercury vapor light and no blacklights.) A bunch of my coworkers and several interns got together to see what comes to Prairie Ridge and it was a blast, right up until a nasty storm blew in and we all had to scatter.  Here’s to many more blacklighting adventures this year!

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

Swarm Sunday: 3/29/2015 – 4/4/2015

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

 

Not surprisingly, given how early in the year it still is, there weren’t very many swarms reported last week:

USA:

Daytona Beach, FL
Lakeland, FL

And here is the US map:

 

3.29.15 to 4.4.15

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

I am not used to getting US reports this early in the year, so it’s exciting to see something different!  I hope I will keep getting reports of dragonflies over the next few months, though this little flurry of activity may stop before the main season resumes in June as usual.  Regardless, this is a great way to start the season and I can’t wait to see what else happens this year!

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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