Swarm Sunday – 7/15/2012 – 7/21/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoIn the past few years, this has been about the time of year when I started seeing a jump in the swarming activity around the US and started getting more than 3-5 reports a week.  Clearly, something else is happening this year.  Look how many swarms were reported!

USA:

Apache Junction, AZ
Bentonville, AR
Rogers, AR
Yellville, AR
North Highlands, CA
Estes Park, CO
Glastonbury, CT
Ledyard, CT
West Haven, CT
Winter Springs, FL
Alton, IL
Cedar Lake, IN
Benton, KY
Ft. Mitchell, KY
Catonsville, MD
Severn, MD (2 reports)
Upper Marlboro, MD
Somerset, MA
Plymouth, MN
Fairdealing, MO
Mansfield, MO
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Hillsborough, NJ
Keyport, NJ
Marlton, NJ
Middletown, NJ
New Providence, NJ
Old Bridge, NJ
Toms River, NJ
Johnsburg, NY
Long Island, NY
Manorville, NY
West Haverstraw, NY
Raleigh, NC
Rocky Mount, NC
Cincinnati, OH
Streetsboro, OH
Westerville, OH
Bethlehem, PA
Boothwyn, PA
Dillsburg, PA
Harleysville, PA
Kutztown, PA
Media, PA (2 reports)
Morrisville, PA
Perkasie, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Radnor, PA
West Chester, PA
Jamestown, RI
Nashville, TN
Houston, TX (3 reports)
Katy, TX
Kingwood, TX
New Braunfels, TX
San Antonio, TX (2 reports)
Spring, TX
Saluda, VA
Tappahannock, VA
Topping, VA
Urbanna, VA
Virginia Beach, VA

Canada:

Red Deer, AL
Strasbourg, SK

Wow!  That’s a lot of swarms!  Most of the activity is currently centered over the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania area and Texas this week, though the southeastern US is still seeing a lot of activity.  Considering that this is the third week of long lists of reports like this too, I think it’s safe to say that the swarming season started earlier this year.

I suspect the early flurry of activity is a result of the mild winter last year.  Unusually warm winters were reported throughout many parts of the US and there were strange weather patterns occurring into the spring.  Many areas didn’t get the typical heavy snows or frosts, even in the northern regions of the continent, and then warmed up earlier in the spring.  A lot of aquatic insects depend on water temperature to let them know that spring has arrived and that it is time to complete their transformation into adults, so warm water in an atypical time of year can result in huge emergences of species before their usual time (sometimes with disastrous consequences).  I think the mild winter and early spring warming both contributed to the early swarming activity we’ve seen this summer, though I’ll have to collect data for a few more seasons to be sure.

Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled by all the dragonflies!  I even got to see another swarm last weekend.  It was made up of 6 different species, including one that isn’t typically reported in swarms (the widow skimmer, Libellula luctuosa).  That brings the total number of swarms I’ve personally seen up to 4 now, and I hope I’ll get to see many more!

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

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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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

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Swarm Sunday – 7/8/2012 – 7/14/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoIt was another great week for dragonfly swarms!  They occurred in the following locations:

USA:

Berryville, AR
Conway, AR
Midway, AR
Russellville, AR
Arvada, CO (2 reports)
Boulder, CO
Centennial, CO (2 reports)
Denver, CO (4 reports)
Englewood, CO (2 reports)
Lakewood, CO
Littleton, CO
Longmont, CO
Loveland, CO
Slater, IA (2 reports)
Glen Carbon, IL
Normal, IL
Avon, IN
Elizabethtown, KY
Taylor Mill, KY
Catonsville, MD
Elkridge, MD
Jessup, MD
Severn, MD
Silver Spring, MD
Tracys Landing, MD
Elizabeth City, NC
Greenville, NC
Stedman, NC
Cohoes, NY
Merrick, NY
New York City, NY
West Islip, NY
Clinton, OH
Delhi, OH
Liberty Township, OH
Media, PA
Corpus Christi, TX
Houston, TX (4 reports)
Pasadena, TX
La Vergne, TN
Hampton, VA
Roanoke, VA

Canada:

Arcola, SK

Clearly there has been another surge in activity in Colorado.  I typically see fewer than 5 swarms in an entire year in Colorado and there were three times that number reported just this week!  I think a combination of factors are coming into play in the state.  From what I’ve gathered online and from friends, Colorado’s weather has alternated wildly between hot and dry conditions and very wet, stormy conditions.  In the last month they’ve seen both horrendous hail storms and record high temperatures.  Hot and dry weather often leads to migratory swarms as the dragonflies abandon an area in search of a better place to forage.  Stormy wet weather brings dragonflies into an area, then the surge in mosquitoes and other small flies after storms attracts even more dragonflies.  Overall, the Colorado weather conditions seem perfectly conducive to seeing a lot of movement of dragonflies from one place to another as well as a lot of static swarms.  The dragonflies are crazy active in Colorado!  It’s been very fun to watch, if only from afar.

There has been a lot of activity in other places as well.  The northern regions of the southern US continue to see activity, as does Texas.  There’s been activity in the northeastern coastal states over the last week and Maryland made its first appearance on the swarm map for the first time this year.  Iowa, too, made its first showing this week.  I’m very interested to see if there is activity in Iowa again this year.  There was a massive event there in 2010 that was likely related to flooding in the area.  However, that flooding likely also decimated the population of nymphs that would have emerged last year and I expected to see decrease in swarming in Iowa last year.  Sure enough, there was far less activity in the area in 2011 than in 2010.  If I’m right that a flooding year is followed by a poor swarming year, I should expect to see a level of activity in Iowa that was much greater than last year as the populations should have had time to recover.  I’m looking forward to testing this hypothesis over the next few seasons.

Finally, I’ve got some fun news: I’ve officially topped 2000 swarm reports since I started collecting in June 2010!  You all have made this project a much greater success than I ever imagined, so thank you all for your participation.  Keep sending in those swarm reports too.  Let’s see if we can make it 3000 reports before the end of the 2012 season!

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

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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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 7/1/2012 – 7/7/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

What a great week for dragonflies!  Swarms occurred in the following locations:

USA:

Gulf Shores, AL
Berryville, AR
Mountain View, AR
Bellvue, CO
Eldorado Springs, CO
Guffey, CO
Littleton, CO
Guilford, CT
Madison, CT
West Haven, CT (2 reports)
Glen Ellyn, IL
La Grange, IL
Oak Park, IL
Riverside, IL
Indianapolis, IN
Springport, IN
Mayfield, KY
Murray, KY
Lafayette, LA
Plaquemine, LA
Fort Leonard Wood, MO
Fredericktown, MO
Marshfield, MO
Ozark, MO
Park Hills, MO
Potosi, MO
St. Robert, MO
Springfield, MO
St Clair Shores, MI
Sea Isle City, NJ
Ventnor City, NJ (2 reports)
Brooklyn, NY
Long Island, NY
New York City, NY
Queens, NY
Staten Island, NY
Corolla, NC
Duck, NC (5 reports)
Alliance, OH
Hamilton, OH
Corryton, TN
Sewanee, TN
Lubbock, TX
San Antonio, TX
New Church, VA

That’s a pretty long list, especially for this time of year, and brings the total number of swarms reported for the US up to 100 already.  Things seem to be heating up a bit early this year, almost a month early compared to last year.  I like it!  The swarming in the midwestern US got going this week, and there were several reports from the southeastern US.  In fact, there was a major event not three hours from where I live in North Carolina!  I was absolutely dying to dash out to the coast to see it, but alas I had to work.  Oh well.  I’m likely to catch a static swarm at work and the annual southward migration lasts for several days in the fall.  Hopefully see my first migratory swarm this year, now that I live in a place that has them!

Most excitingly (that’s a word, right?), there were swarms reported in Texas this week.  The drought was so bad last year that I only got a small handful of reports from the state, so it’s nice to see activity there again.  Hopefully that means they got some rain!

As for dragonfly swarms online, I give you one swarm report in a blog post by writer Amy Dusto.  She interviewed me for her blog last year, so I was thrilled to hear she actually got to see a swarm!  If you’d like to read about her idyllic Fourth of July that ended with a dragonfly swarm sighting, head on over to her blog, Not a Lion.  Sounds like a perfect way to spend the Fourth to me!

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

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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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 6/24/2012 – 6/30/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Obviously Friday 5 didn’t happen last week (long story), but Swarm Sunday is here!  Swarms occurred in the following locations over the past week:

USA:

Arvada, CO
Boulder,  CO
Calhan, CO
Denver, CO
Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Long Branch, NJ
Old Bridge Township, NJ
New York, NY
New Kent, VA

Canada:

Moosejaw, SK (2 reports)

The activity still seems to be centered over Colorado, where there are several big fires burning, and the New Jersey/New York area.  I’m going to be interested to see whether the swarms keep forming in the Colorado area, especially as this popped up on one of the Facebook page for one of the local news channels in Colorado Springs this morning:

 

Now that’s impressive!  And this is an interesting swarm too.  First, it’s a darner species that very few people report in swarms (Aeshna sp., likely interrupta), so it’s not the typical Colorado swarm that’s been reported in the past.  Second, and more interestingly, this swarm occurred at NIGHT!  Colorado is one of the only places where I’ve ever gotten a report of a night flying swarm like this since I’ve started collecting data, so it makes me wonder what might be causing these strange swarms there.  Could the last night flying swarm possibly have been related to a fire too?  That swarm was made up of hundreds to thousands of common green darners (Anax junius), so it was a little different from this one, but night flying swarms like these are rather uncommon.  This is all pure speculation, of course, but it’s interesting to think about.   Very interesting!

I wanted to end this week with a video submitted by a swarm reporter in Illinois:

If any of you want to have videos of swarms you’ve recorded featured here, I’d be happy to post them (assuming they’re kid friendly)!  Just send me the link or post it on my Facebook page and I’ll add them here as I receive them.

Keep looking out for swarms everyone!  It could be a very interesting year.

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

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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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 6/17/2012 – 6/23/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Looks like the swarm season is starting to heat up!  And there are a few hotspots of activity too.  The following swarms have been reported over the last week:

USA:

Boulder, CO
Denver, CO
Colorado Springs, CO (2 swarms)
Holyoke, CO
Manitou Springs, CO
Bradenton, FL
Chicago, IL
Round Lake, IL (2 swarms)
Lima, OH
Avenel, NJ
Bradley Beach, NJ
Normandy Beach, NJ
North Middletown, NJ
Waretown, NJ
Oak Beach, NY
New York, NY
West Islip, NY

Canada:

Lower Sackville, NS

Clearly most of the early activity is centered over the New Jersey/New York area and Colorado.  Most people from the former have reported flooding in their areas, so that fits nicely with my hypothesis that flooding influences swarm activity.   Interestingly, there is a significant fire in the Manitou Springs area of Colorado, so it makes me wonder if that might be generating swarm activity in the Manitou and Colorado Springs areas.  Not sure I’ll ever be able to test that hypothesis, but it’s an interesting thing to think about at least!  I hope the fire goes out soon though.  I grew up in Colorado Springs and it makes me sad to think that places I loved as a kid are going up in flames…

In other news, I’m planning to move my dragonfly swarm project over to another website in the not-too-distant future.  I think it’s time to lay the project out more formally and have the important information up front and center rather than buried in a series of blog posts.  I’ll let you all know when that happens!  In the meantime, keep sending in your reports here.  Every report helps us all understand this behavior a little better!

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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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 2/2012 – 6/17/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

The dragonfly swarm season is starting up again!  It’s getting a slow start, but it’s definitely happening.  It seems like a lot of areas of the US had really strange weather over the past year, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the swarming patterns this year.  There could be more, there could be less, there could be no change – who knows?!  But that’s something we’ll be able to explore together this year.

Since my last Swarm Sunday in January, the following swarms have been reported:

USA:

Satellite Beach, FL
Rocky River, OH
Blythewood, SC
Abington, MA
South Salem, NY
Worcester, MA
Stoddard, WI

Mexico:

Cancun (5 reports)

Overall, there haven’t been all that many reports yet, but things are starting to pick up.  One thing that I didn’t hear about, something I expected to crop up in my data at some point and never did, was the swarming season in Australia.  Either it didn’t happen this year or it happened and I didn’t get any reports, but I haven’t gotten a single Australian swarm report this year.  Strange, but interesting.

I also wanted to point out that Bug Girl wrote a blog post about migrations in dragonflies recently and it’s got some good links.  In particular, she beat me to the punch in announcing that the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership is starting to collect data!  If you want to get involved and help us understand dragonfly migration patterns, I encourage you all to join Dragonfly Pond Watch.  It’s easy!  You simply visit the same pond multiple times throughout the year and report any green darners (Anax junius) or black saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) you see.  There are only two species to learn and they’re very distinctive, so I hope many of you will choose to get involved!

In the meantime, start looking out for swarms!  I hope it’s going to be 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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 10/23/2011 – 10/29/2011

dragonfly swarm banner

No swarms to report this week, so it looks like the swarming season is officially over!  I’m taking a break next weekend and then I’ll start the year-end report the following Sunday.  It’s been an exciting year, so I hope you’ll check back in  a few weeks!

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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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com