I have to admit: this week’s swarming activity was a little underwhelming. After last week’s exciting flurry of migratory swarms… Nothing! I had expected there to be many more migratory swarm reports this week. However, many static swarms occurred over the past week:
Siloam Springs, AR
Old Greenwich, CT
Panama City Beach, FL
Chicago, IL (2 reports)
Lynn Center, IL
West Chicago, IL
Woodstock, IL (2 reports)
Sioux City, IA
Bel Aire, KS
South Hutchinson, KS
Valley Center, KS
La Plata, MO
Cherry Hill, NJ
Campbell Hall, NY
Mt. Blanchard, OH
Elkins Park, PA
Emery, SD (2 reports)
Sioux Falls, SD
Farmers Branch, TX
Menomonee Falls, WI
Hardly any of these swarms are migratory swarms, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the migration isn’t happening anyway. The most interesting thing that happened this week was the surge in activity in eastern South Dakota. I rarely get reports in South Dakota at all, only 3 total before this year. Then this past week I got 8 in one night. What’s interesting about this is that all but one of these reports are along a very distinct line. It really looks like the sort of line you’d expect during a migratory movement. The next day, I got a few reports in Iowa. Then a few more in Kansas three days later. Then one in Texas. If you map them out, you see an interesting pattern in the data:
You can see another set of lines following Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River that followed the same sort of southward pattern during the week – Wisconsin and Chicago area reports first, then the Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas reports later in the week. Even if I didn’t get many migratory swarm reports this week, it still appears that the midwestern dragonflies are on the move. The migration through this part of the country may be a little more subtle than the east coast migration, but that’s not entirely surprising. The eastern migration is much more obvious as the dragonflies all take a similar path directly down the coastline. They follow a very narrow strip of land directly along the water. In the midwest they’re more spread out, and travel through a much more rural area too. There just aren’t as many people there to observe the migration. It could also be that the midwestern dragonflies fly higher than the eastern dragonflies. The eastern dragonflies tend to stay fairly low to the ground where the midwestern dragonflies are often reported much higher up.
Most of the remaining activity in the US is where it’s been most of the summer: New York and New Jersey.
This coming week I expect to see some migratory activity on both coasts. The weather along the Oregon coast is just about right for the migration of the variegated meadowhawk, so be on the lookout for hoards of these little red dragonflies if you happen to live in the pacific northwest:
Things are starting to cool down in the east too, so I hope I’ll start seeing dragonflies headed my way soon!
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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10 thoughts on “Swarm Sunday – 9/2/2012 – 9/8/2012”
I am delighted to join & follow you … I am a garden designer/installer in Montana, and have had a huge love [forever] for dragonflies. I just would like to add my observation that they love bamboo to perch on. I even walked around with one on a bamboo plant stake last week. Maybe you all know this but thought I should add it to this lovely and interesting blog. Gretchen
Excellent observation! There are several species of dragonflies that like perches that are just like those bamboo stakes, and I’ve definitely seen them use them myself. Perhaps this could be an easy way to attract dragonflies to your yard without building a pond?
Glad to have you along!
Haven’t spotted any dragon flies yet in Houston, TX (Farmer’s branch is more north-east. They had a cool front come through over the weekend) – but word is that monarchs are on the way.
If the monarchs are on their way, the dragonflies likely are too! Fun. How cool did it get in Houston this weekend? The weather got dramatically cooler in North Carolina yesterday. It was so great!
We are on Clear Lake – south side – it was 59 last night – 60’s the night before…but pretty warm today – hotter rest of the week..90’s lows in 70’s with luck
Back in the 90’s? I’m sorry! I’m hoping it will stay cool here for a while. I got my first little taste of fall weather on Sunday and now I want more!
Humming birds just showed up – like about 5 minutes ago. Those plants better keep blooming.
update: Dragonfly spotted at 3:23 pm In League City, TX
Yeah? Excellent! Just the one so far?