Another very slow week! Swarms occurred in the following locations:
Six swarms last week. Six! Note to dragonflies: do you call that a migration? Huh? Pathetic…
This is getting weird. Allow me to place this week’s swarm data into perspective. During the same 7 day period last year, I got 147 reports. The year before I got a third of that, but it was a much slower year and Hurricane Irene was’t wreaking havoc on the behavior or the American dragonfly population. I got many reports each week into mid-October. This year, I got 6 reports and it’s only September. Based on my last two years of data collection, I would expect many, many more reports than this, maybe 10 times what I got last week. Instead, I got 6. This should be the peak migratory season, and hardly anyone is seeing anything out there!
I had been debating publishing my findings for this project after only three years of data collection, ]i.e. at the end of this season, rather than waiting the full five I had been planning for. I thought I had this behavior under control and knew what to expect. However, this year’s migration is reminding me of something that’s important to consider when you’re dealing with biological phenomena, particularly those that are dependent on weather: no matter how well you think you understand a system, nature has a way of throwing wrenches into your data collection. She’s throwing a big wrench in the works this year!
I’m still hoping there will be one more surge in activity, a clear indication of the migration in the eastern US, before mid-October when the season usually ends. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks!
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!
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2 thoughts on “Swarm Sunday (on Monday) – 9/16/2012 – 9/22/2012”
I’ve just learned of your activities and, indeed, this is my first year of watching and particularly photographing dragonflies. I have two questions for you – first, I live in California and so are you interested in swarms here? Secondly, can you give me an idea of what a swarm might look like – I mean, are you thinking in terms of 10s, 100s or 1000s over a short period?
Thanks, Barry Boulton
Hello! Glad to hear from another dragonfly photography enthusiast! And yes, I would be thrilled to hear of any swarms out your direction. I’ve defined a swarm as 10 or more individuals, but the behavior can be exhibited by thousands or millions of dragonflies too. It really depends on the local conditions, the time of year, the weather, etc. The best idea of what it looks like I can give you is a video I took of a swarm in Arizona that would be similar to what I’d expect you to see in California. You can find it on YouTube here:
Good luck with the photography! Are you displaying any of your photos online? If so, I’d love to see them!