Swarm Sunday (on Monday): 8/16/15 – 8/29/15

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Reporting on two weeks of data again – and a day later than I’d like – but here’s the latest update!  Swarms were reported from the following locations over the last two weeks:

USA:

Napa, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Erie, CO
Ansonia, CT
Branford, CT
Colebrook, CT
East Hartland , CT
Guilford, CT
Norfolk, CT (2 swarms)
Woodbury, CT
Ellijay, GA
Cedar Rapids, IA
Davenport, IA
Muscatine, IA
Springdale, IA
Swisher, IA
Waukon, IA
Galesburg, IL
Skokie, IL
Bloomfield, IN
Hamilton, IN
Terre Haute, IN
Olathe, KS
Burlington, KY
Colrain, MA
Ipswich, MA
Manchester, MA
North Adams, MA
Pittsfield, MA
Plymouth, MA
Raynham, MA
Rowley, MA
Sandisfield, MA
Scituate, MA
West Brookfield, MA (2 swarms)
Williamsburg, MA
Winchendon, MA
Lebanon, ME
Portland, ME
Waldoboro, ME
Ann Arbor Township, MI
Twin Lake, MI
Troy, MO
Webb City, MO
New Bern, NC
Oak Island, NC
Elk City, NE
Omaha, NE (2 swarms)
Amherst, NH
Portsmouth, NH
Asbury Park, NJ
Voorhees, NJ
Bearsville, NY
Brooklyn, NY
Gouverneur, NY
Hancock, NY
Napanoch, NY
New York, NY
Waterloo, NY
Woodstock, NY
Chillicothe, OH
Poland, OH
Quincy, OH
Downingtown, PA
Shinglehouse, PA
Susquehanna, PA
East Greenwich, RI
Warwick, RI
Austin, TX
Kingsville, TX
Seminole, TX
Colchester, VT
South Newfane, VT
Black Earth, WI
Brookfield, WI
Burlington, WI

Canada:

Tatamagouche, NS
Dwight, ON
Hamilton, ON
Hamilton, ON

Germany:

Dresden, Saxony

And this one didn’t happen in this two-week period, but I can’t help but post it anyway because I’m really excited about this one:

Kazakhstan:

Astana

And here are the US maps for the last two weeks:

8.16.15 to 8.22.15

8.23.15 to 8.29.15

Click the maps to enlarge!

Not many migratory events have been reported yet, but I think that’s coming soon, sometime in the next week or two.  The activity over the past few weeks is the sort of conditions we normally see right before the migration of the common green darners – lots of reports from the Great Lakes region, a few in Nebraska (that’s always a good indicator for some reason!), and dragonflies massing in New England.  Next week or the week after, I’d expect those masses to start shifting southward so that we’ll see a lot more activity in Virginia, the Carolinas, Missouri, and Arkansas as the dragonflies start following the eastern coast and the midwestern rivers toward the Gulf of Mexico.

No indication that the western migration has begun at all yet!  I start looking for reports of dragonflies swarming in Montana, Idaho, and southern Canada and you’ll usually see the Washington-Oregon migration of the variegated meadowhawks shortly afterwards.  No sign of anything so far this year though!

All this means that we’re heading into the prime swarming season very soon.  If you see a swarm, please report it.  We can follow the big swarms down the coasts and rivers if people report the swarms they 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

What Visited My Blacklight Last Week (Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday)

I am part of a grant that is bringing together science and writing by partnering science museums, like the one where I work, with local chapters of the National Writing Project to create K-12 educational programs.  I’ll share more specifics about the activities we’re offering later (they’ll be online, so you can participate too!), but the activity that my team is developing and rolling out to the public next month explores nocturnal insects.  As my team’s science museum representative, it falls to me to create the science-related content that supports our activities – field guides, photos, videos, etc.  One of the things the English teachers and poets on my team really wanted was a time-lapse video of my blacklight sheet.  So, I took a camera out a few nights ago, snapped 2700 photos of my sheet, and this is the result:

Now, what I get on my blacklighting sheet in North Carolina is nothing compared to what I used to see in Arizona, but it’s still interesting to see what came to the light.  My favorite part: the damsel bug that shows up in about the last 30 seconds and starts eating other insects on the sheet.  :)

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy a glimpse at the insects I’ve been seeing at my backyard blacklight recently!

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

Swarm Sunday: 8/1/15 – 8/15/15

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

I’m a week behind again, but determined to get caught up!  Swarms were reported from the following locations over the last two weeks:

USA:

La Mesa, CA
Mission Hills, CA
San Diego, CA
New Smyrna Beach, FL
Iowa City, IA (2 swarms)
Iowa City, IA
Lisbon, IA
Mount Vernon, IA
West Liberty, IA
Athens, IL
Bement, IL
Chicago, IL (14 swarms)
Evanston, IL (2 swarms)
Galena, IL
Glenview, IL (2 swarms)
Ingleside, IN
Sterling, IL
Villa Grove, IL
Albion, IN
Bloomington, IN (2 swarms)
Carmel, IN
Fort Eayne, IN
Gary, IN
Huntington, IN
Vincennes, IN
Whitestown, IN
Crittenden, KY
Marshfield, MA (2 swarms)
North Brookfield, MA
Pepperell, MA
Princeton, MA
Scituate, MA
Fairfield, ME
Falmouth, ME
Portland, ME
Columbus, MI (2 swarms)
Gladwin, MI
Lakeport, MI
Livonia, MI
Newberry, MI
Ray, MI
Willis, MI
Chatfield, MN
Chesterfield, MO (2 swarms)
Holt, MO
Sibley, MO
St Louis, MO
Lucedale, MS
Woodville, MS
Holden Beach, NC
Grafton, NE
Hampstead, NH
Kensington, NH
North Haverhill, NH
Buffalo, NY
Claverack, NY
Grafton, NY
Greene, NY
Peru, NY
Troy, NY
South Vienna, OH
Twinsburg, OH
Vermilion, OH
Fields, OR
Pen Argyl, PA
Tunkhannock, PA
Bacliff, TX (2 swarms)
Corpus Christi, TX
Denton, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Rose City, TX
Virginia Beach, VA
Charlotte, VT
Stockbridge, VT
Holmen, WI
Janesville, WI
Kenosha, WI
Middelton, WI
Milwaukee, WI (3 swarms)
Casper, WY

Canada:

Bancroft, ON
Bracebridge, ON
Dwight, ON
Haliburton, ON
Mississauga, ON
Orrville, ON

Guatemala:

Momostenango, Totonicapan

And here are the US maps for the last two weeks:

8.2.15 to 8.8.15

8.9.15 to 8.15.15

 

Click the maps to enlarge!

Lots of activity reported from the northeastern US, including the areas around the upper Midwest and New England.  Starting to look a lot more like the migration season is upon us!  Next week I expect to start seeing increased reporting in the mid-Atlantic states and perhaps a few more in Nebraska, Arkansas, and Missouri.

This is the prime season for swarms, so be on the lookout in your area!  If you’re along the east coast or any of the rivers in the Midwest, you’re likely to see swarms over the next few weeks.  Hope you’ll report any 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

Swarm Sunday: 6/28/15 – 8/1/15

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoI’m a bit behind on reports, but a lot of swarms have occurred recently!  Swarms were reported from the following locations over the last four weeks:

USA:

Greenwood, AR
Jacksonville, AR
Jonesboro, AR
Paragould, AR
Searcy, AR
Alhambra, CA
Arleta, CA
Camarillo, CA
Glendale, CA
North Hills, CA
Los Angeles, CA (2 swarms)
Orange, CA
Palomar Mountain, CA
Perris, CA
Poway, CA
Redondo Beach, CA
San Clemente, CA
San Diego, CA (2 swarms)
Santa Barbara, CA (3 swarms)
Simi Valley, CA
Topanga, CA
Ventura, CA (2 swarms)
Woodland Hills, CA
Brighton, CO
Colorado Springs, CO
Denver, CO
Jacksonville, FL
Melbourne Beach, FL
Parrish, FL
Athens, IL (2 swarms)
Belleville, IL (2 swarms)
Bourbonnais, IL
Chapin, IL
Chicago, IL ( 5 swarms)
Evanston, IL (4  swarms)
Fairbury, IL
Fox Lake, IL
Pekin, IL
Princeton, IL
Wadsworth, IL
Warrensburg, IL
Argos, IN
Beverly Shores, IN
Columbus, IN
Martinsville, IN
Roanoke, IN
Veedersburg, IN
Barksdale, LA
Leesville, LA
Springfield, LA
Chester, MA (2 swarms)
Wenham, MA
Grosse Pointe, MI (2 swarms)
Port Sanilac, MI
Comfrey, MN
Duluth, MN
Long Beach, MS
Picayune, MS
Poplar Bluff, MO
Winfield, MO
Louisville, NE
Las Vegas, NV
Bayville, NJ
Brigantine, NJ (3 swarms)
Long Valley, NJ
Ocean City, NJ
Wildwood Crest, NJ
Caswell Beach, NC
Holden Beach, NC (3 swarms)
Murphy, NC
North Topsail Beach, NC (2 swarms)
Oak Island, NC
Washington, NC
Wilson, NC
Fargo, ND
Minot, ND
Marblehead, OH
Oklahoma City, OK
Charleston, SC
Hilton Head Island, SC
Little River, SC
Mount Pleasant, SC
Collierville, TN
Germantown, TN
Piperton, TN
Soddy-Daisy, TN (2 swarms)
Euless, TX
Frost, TX
Laredo, TX
Robstown TX
San Antonio, TX (2 swarms)
Bountiful, UT
Logan, UT
Salt Lake City, UT
Sandy, UT
Richland, WA
Greenfield, WI
Milwaukee, WI
Sheboygan, WI

Canada:

Calgary, AB
Falcon Lake, MB
Kingston, ON
Balgonie, SK

Here are the US maps for last four weeks:

7.5.15 to 7.11.15

7.5.15 to 7.11.15

7.12.15 to 7.18.15

7.12.15 to 7.18.15

7.19.15 to 7.25.15

7.19.15 to 7.25.15

7.26.15 to 8.1.15

7.26.15 to 8.1.15

Click the maps to enlarge!

July started off a little slow, with a few swarms reported in the central part of the country along with a cluster in North Carolina.  For whatever reason, there were several swarms reported in drought-ridden  southern California, an area that normally sees very little swarming activity.  Perhaps these are dragonflies about to move to a better area?  The week of July 12th saw a little more activity in the Midwest, with swarms occurring along the Great Lakes, the Illinois River, and the Mississippi River with a smattering of other swarms across the country.  The week of July 19th saw increased activity along the Illinois and Mississippi, but still little along the western coast of Lake Michigan.  A flurry of activity in that area suggests that the migration season is about to begin, and that flurry started last week, the week of July 26.  That coupled with the sightings along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana suggest that the 2015 Midwest migration may have already begun!  It’s a few weeks earlier than normal, so it will be interesting to see if the dragonflies continue southward over the next few weeks or stay in place for a little while before they start moving at their regular time in mid-August.  The coastal migrations have apparently not yet begun, though I suspect they may start in the next few weeks.

Peak swarm season has begun!  If you see swarms, I’d love to hear from you.  Click on the link below to add your story!

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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: 6/28/15 – 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!

_______________

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: 6/21/15 – 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!

_______________

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

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