Swarm Sunday – 8/26/2012 – 9/1/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

The migration has begun!  But first, swarms occurred in the following areas over the past week:

USA:

Compton, CA
Lakewood, CA
Palmdale, CA
Fort Collins, CO
La Junta, CO
Lynn Haven, FL
Milton, FL
North Port, FL
Panama City Beach, FL
Panhandle Seaside, FL
St. Petersburg, FL
Siesta Key, FL
Mountain Home, ID
Berwyn, IL
Chicago, IL (11 reports)
Elk Grove Village, IL
Lawrence, IL
McConnell, IL
Orangeville, IL
Village of Lakewood, IL
Liberty Township, IN
Le Mars, IA
Peosta, IA
Weat Branch, IA
Kennebunkport, ME
Kittery Point, ME
York, ME
Dighton, MA
Holyoke, MA
Marblehead, MA
Troy, MI
Duluth, MN
Saint Paul, MN
Colon, MS
Cedarville, OH
Douglas, OK
Orangeville, PA
Charlestown, RI
Athens, TX
Crowley, TX
Galveston, TX
Gelveston Island, TX
Plano, TX
Portland, TX
Seattle, WA
Belleville, WI
Beloit, WI
Darlington, WI
Footville, WI
Granton, WI
Janesville, WI (3 reports)
New Auburn, WI
Sharon, WI (2 reports)
Spring Valley, WI
West Bend, WI
Whitewater, WI

England:

Isle of Sheppey, Kent

There was a sharp increase in the number of migratory swarms reported this week, which suggests that the migration is just starting up.  However, most of the reports were from the Great Lakes area, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, so it looks like the northeastern US might have to wait a little longer for their migration to begin.  The Midwestern migrants will travel down either the Illinois River or the Wabash and Ohio Rivers to the Mississippi, and then down the big river from there.  Considering Hurricane Isaac recently made landfall along their route, it will be interesting to see what happens when the migrants reach the New Orleans area and continue south toward the Gulf coast.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they stopped there to feed for several days before moving on.

There is also a separate migration happening in Texas.  Nearly every report from Texas this week described a migratory swarm, so there’s something interesting happening.  Most reporters mentioned high winds and rain that resulted from Isaac, so the migratory swarms from Texas could be similar to the migrating dragonflies that appeared in Florida in advance of the hurricane.   I wonder if these dragonflies will eventually fly south or disperse within Texas…

Many of the static swarms reported this week were in the west.  It’s unusual to have reports in Colorado, California, Idaho, and Washington all in one week, but I think it’s exciting.  Western swarms are far less common than eastern swarms, so it’s always nice to see activity west of the Rockies.

I hope that I will be able to post a video of a migratory swarm in North Carolina in the next couple of weeks!  The migration down the coast should be starting soon, and I fully intend to dash out to the coast to see it for the first time this year if at all possible.  I can’t wait!

Until next week, keep sending in those swarm reports!  We’re coming up on the most active part of the year, and right on time in spite of the early start of the swarming season this summer.

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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!

_______________

Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © TheDragonflyWoman.com

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Swarm Sunday (2 Days Late) – 8/19/2012 – 8/25/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Some interesting things happened this week.  But first, let’s review the list of swarm locations.  Swarms occurred in the following areas over the past week:

USA:

Gazelle, CA
Boulder, CO
Fort Collins, CO
Jupiter, FL
Marco Island, FL
Panama City Beach, FL (2 swarms)
Siesta Key, FL
Stuart, FL
Suntree, FL
Venice, FL
Venus, FL (3 swarms)
Osceola, IN
Blairsburg, IA
Burlington, IA
Kelley, IA
Cape Elizabeth, ME
Eddington, ME
Port Tobacco, MD
Allegan, MI
Springfield, MO
Concord, NH
Manchester, NH
Rochester, NH
Peapack, NJ
Seaside Heights, NJ
Garnerville, NY
Narrowsburg, NY
Phoenix, OR
Reading, PA
Garretson, SD
New Braunfels, TX
West Jordan, UT

Canada:

Toronto, ON

Yet another week of mediocre levels of activity, but I did see a few interesting things happen.  Most importantly, there has been very little activity in Florida so far this year, but there was a lovely little surge this past week.  I suspect it was because Hurricane Isaac was approaching.  I can’t say for certain that the hurricane was the cause, but there is some good evidence that it was playing a role in the increase in activity.  I was in Florida myself as Isaac approached, so I was able to make firsthand observations.  I didn’t see swarms until the evening it got windy, cloudy, and the temperature dropped.  Before you started to feel the effects of the storm, you didn’t see any swarms.  After the first arms of the storm reached Archbold, suddenly there was swarming.  I also received three reports of migratory swarms in which thousands of dragonflies were flying the wrong way for this time of year, coming north into Florida from over the water.  The migration is upon us, so it is very strange to see swarms moving north when you expect to see them moving south.  But, when you consider the gigantic swarm headed north from the same direction as the dragonflies, it suggests the dragonflies were responding to the hurricane’s approach.

Considering the similar patterns in swarming that were observed last year when Hurricane Irene hit the east coast, I’m going to tentatively suggest that hurricanes are major forces driving swarming behavior.  I’ll have to see what happens after a few more hurricanes hit land in the US to say this with any sort of certainty, but the evidence suggests that this might be happening.

Also, I already mentioned this in my Friday 5 post from last week, but I got to add a new species to my list of confirmed swarming species last week.  The more of these I add and the more countries where swarms are observed, the more it suggests that this is a rather universal dragonfly behavior and not simply a behavior of the known migratory species.  (Hyacinth gliders could be migratory though – they’re very widespread.)  They formed strange swarms too.  They stayed in the same dense group as other species, but they flew differently within that group.  Rather than doing the little rectangular or figure 8 flight patterns most commonly reported in other species, these were much more jerky in their flight, a lot less regular.  They almost flew in little zigzags.  They did, however, consistently do one thing over and over: they flew slowly straight into the wind, hovering several times as they advanced, then abruptly turned 180 degrees and flew 20 or 30 feet very quickly the opposite direction.  Then they would turn around and do it all again, repeating this same motion for hours at a time.  I haven’t seen anything like it in another species.  It might be something unique to this species, though it might just be something no one has reported yet.

I could go on and on, but in the interest in getting this up on the blog sometime today, I’m going to leave you with a video of the hyacinth gliders swarming at Archbold during Bug Shot.  I watched these swarms for a couple of hours altogether and they were truly magical!

Until next week!

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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!

_______________

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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 8/12/2012 – 8/18/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

I don’t know about you all, but I’m getting excited about the dragonfly migration!  It’s only a couple of weeks away now and I’m fully prepared to drive out to the coast at a moment’s notice to see it firsthand this year.  I expect it to be a life changing experience!  Meanwhile, swarms occurred in the following locations over the past week:

USA:

Redding, CA
San Diego, CA
Clinton, CT
North Stonington, CT
West Suffield, CT
Wellington, FL
Troy, ID
Willbrook, IL
Ponchatoula, LA
Adams, MA
Burlington, MA
Halifax, MA
Medford, MA
Montgomery, MA
Palmer, MA
Peabody, MA
Saugus, MA
Denmark, ME
Houlton, ME
Raymond, ME
Cornlea, NE
Barrington, NH
Concord, NH
Deering, NH
Hollis, NH (2 reports)
Hopkinton, NH
Keene, NH
Louden, NH
Northwood, NH
Nottingham, NH
Rochester, NH
Strafford, NH
Thornton, NH
Wolfeboro, NH
Long Beach Island, NJ
Breesport, NY
Corning, NY
Eaton, NY
Freeport, NY
Ozone Park, NY
Jacksonville, NC
Hamilton, OH
Charlestown, RI
Westerly, RI
Copperas Cove, TX
Houston, TX
West Lake Hills, TX
Magna, UT

England:

London

The big excitement of the week: I get to add England to my list of countries where swarms have been reported!  Of course, this means that my poster that I prepared for the Public Participation in Scientific Research conference is already out of date only two weeks later, but that’s one of the great things about citizen science – it’s incredibly dynamic.  New discoveries can happen at any time, and I am always thrilled to add a new country to the list!

Otherwise, things have continued in New England as they have the last few weeks.  New Hampshire comes out as the state with the most swarms reported this week with 15 swarms, with Maine, New York, and Connecticut all putting in a good showing.  This isn’t the major swarming event I’ve come to expect at this time of year, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks as the migration starts up.

Next week’s Swarm Sunday might be a little late as I’m going to BugShot again this year and will be traveling back home on Sunday.  I’ll do my best to get it up on time, but we’ll see how it goes.  If it’s anything like last year, I don’t really expect to sleep at BugShot and will be returning home in a nearly comatose state.  I’d also like to mention that if you happen to be in the Raleigh, NC area and are free Wednesday at 12:15 PM, I’m giving a talk about dragonfly migration in the Nature Research Center’s Daily Planet Theater at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  My talk will be a part of a series of talks about migration in animals that will run Tuesday – Friday.  Should be fun!

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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!

_______________

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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 8/5/2012 – 8/11/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoLooks like we might be hitting a bit of a lull before the explosion of activity during the migration when it starts in a few weeks.  Not quite as many swarms this week:

USA:

Grove Hill, AL
Young, AZ
Arkadelphia, AR
Norwich, CT
Tolland, CT
Naples, ID
Evanston, IL
Orland Park, IL
Richmond, IN
Farmington, ME
Gooserocks Beach, ME (2 reports)
Skowhegan, ME
South Bristol ME
Silver Spring, MD
Westminster, MA
Villa Ridge, MO (2 reports)
Hollis, NH
Lebanon, NH
Londonderry, NH
Tilton, NH
Glen Falls, NY
Saratoga Springs, NY
Tulsa, OK (2 reports)
Westerly, RI
Franklin, TN
Coventry, VT
Hartland, VT
Alexandria, VA
Seattle, WA

There’s still a fair amount of activity in New England, especially in the northern part of the region, but the swarms are spread over a pretty large area this week.   Interesting!  I love watching how these swarms move from place to place from week to week and they definitely seem to be going strong in the northern part of the country at the moment.

I got to see another swarm this week too!  I helped out with a dragonfly and damselfly workshop for teachers offered by the outreach people at my museum (an awesome group of enthusiastic educators, so I was thrilled to be even a limited part of it!) at Weymouth Woods-Sandhill Nature Preserve.  Half of the day was spent indoors learning about dragonflies and damselflies and then the afternoon was spent at a nearby fish hatchery observing dragonflies in the field.  I was asked to talk about my swarm project briefly and had told everyone that it was uncommon to see them and that they shouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t ever see one.  Imagine my delight when we came around the corner at the fish hatchery and saw a swarm right there over the grass!  It was lovely, and very exciting.  I tried to take some photos and reinforced for myself just how hard it is to photograph these things:

Dragonfly swarm

Dragonfly swarm – 5 individuals pictured

Yikes!  I couldn’t get more than a few dragonflies in the frame at one time and this was the best I could do.  Someday I’m going to get a really good shot of this behavior.  Someday…

And finally, the Your Wild Life blog included my project in a blog post about the Public Participation in Scientific Research conference last weekend.  Thank you to Holly Menninger for the support!  And if you all haven’t seen their blog, you should head over there now.  Rob Dunn’s lab is doing some great citizen science and they’re learning some very interesting things about the critters that live on and near us.  They highlight their upcoming and ongoing projects as well as their findings online, so they’re great about sharing their results with their participants.  Great stuff!

Keep looking out for those swarms!

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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!

_______________

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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 7/29/2012 – 8/4/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logoIt would just feel wrong if I went to a conference on citizen science where I’m presenting a poster on this very project and then didn’t get Swarm Sunday up on time!  Swarms were reported in the following locations this week:

USA:

Corte Madera, CA
Costa Mesa, CA
Downey, CA
Fallbrook, CA
Lake  Forest, CA
Sacramento, CA
Victorville, CA
Fountain Valley, CA
Broomfield, CO
Hockessin, DE
Washington, DC
Daytona Beach, FL (2 reports)
New Smyrna, FL
Stockbridge, FL
Roswell, GA
Stockton, GA
St. Croix, IN
Alvaton, KY
Cadiz, KY
Port Allen, LA

Auburn, ME (2 reports)
Farmington, ME
Madison, ME
Worcester, MA
Gulfport, MS
Lucedale, MS
Manchester, MA
Gilford, NH
Merrimack, NH
Nashua, NH
New Ipswitch, NH
South Hampton, NH
Westville, NJ
East Aurora, NY
Lindenhurst, NY
Paducah, NY
Walton, NY
Carrboro, NC
Cary, NC
Garner, NC
Harrisburg, PA
Sewanee, TN (2 reports)
Soddy-Daisy, TN (2 reports)
Bastrop, TX
Grand Prairie, TX
Plano, TX
Fredericksburg, VA
Richmond, VA
Milton, VT
Drummond, WI

Canada:

Calgary, AL

Nicaragua:

Los Penitas, Leon

New country this week!  And it’s in Central America.  That’s always exciting, and brings the total number of countries participating in The Dragonfly Swarm Project up to 16.  I’ve got a plan for translating part of my text and my report form into Spanish so I can reach out to the Spanish speaking people of Central and South American this fall too.  Hopefully I can start to get more participation from the people in the countries that are potentially the overwintering sites for the North American migrating species.  That would be very exciting!

Otherwise, there was a lot of activity in northern New England this week, with states like Maine, Delaware, Vermont, and New Hampshire making their first apppearance on the swarm list for the year.  There is also a little event happening in California.  Of course, I say “little,” but by western stndards it is positively huge!  I would imagine there is something strange going on with the weather there, but I’ll have to look into it after I get back from my conference.

And speaking of my conference, I need to get ready to go present my poster, so I have to cut this a little short this week.  I’ll likely post about the conference when I get back, but for now I can’t wait to hear some more of the great talks!  I believe the first Public Participation in Scientific Research conference has been a great success.  I really hope they decide to make this an annual event!

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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!

_______________

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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

Swarm Sunday – 7/22/2012 – 7/28/2012

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Lots of swarms again this week!

USA:

Brookfield, AL
Phoenix, AZ
Gentry, AR
Greenbrae, CA
Larkspur, CA
Malibu, CA
Boulder, CO (2 reports)
Erie, CO
Guilford, CT
Milford, CT
Westport, CT
Newark, DE
Wilmington, DE
Breese, IL
Evanston, IL
Springfield, IL
Western Springs, IL
Atlanta, IN
Arkansas City, KS
Emporia, KS
Louisville, KY
Shreveport, LA
Elkton, MD
Glen Burnie, MD
Perry Hall, MD
Rosedale, MD
Easthampton, MA
Erving, MA
Eureka, MO
Joplin, MO
Purcell, MO
Aberdeen, NJ
Cumberland. NJ
Eeison, NJ
Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Hamburg, NJ
Milford, NJ
Mine Hill, NJ
Montclair, NJ
Londia, NY
Miller Place, NY
New Windsor, NY
New York City, NY
Greenville, NC
Raleigh, NC
Richlands, NC
Midwest City, OK
Ponca City, OK
Bensalem, PA
Dyberry Township, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Southampton, PA
Spring Grove, PA
Virginville, PA
Yankton, SD
Cleveland, TN
Sewanee, TN
Deer Park, TX
El Paso, TX
Pflugerville, TX
Orem, UT
Richmond, VA
Viroqua, WI

Canada:

Athabasca, AL

Costa Rica:

Langosta

With the exception of the recent swarm boom in Colorado, the western US hasn’t seen a lot of dragonfly activity so far this year.  That changed this week with reports cropping up in Utah, South Dakota, Arizona, and California.  There’s not a whole lot of activity there, but it’s a pretty good showing for the west where swarms are far and few between.  Otherwise, things seem to be continuing along as they have been, with activity centered over New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania and spread throughout the southeast.  The eastern part of the country seems oddly consistent this year.  Interesting!

I got to see another swarm this week too!  It was the exact sort of swarm I’ve heard about so many times from people who have participated in my project too: green darners flying just overhead as it became dark and just before a huge storm blew into the area.  Having spent so much time working on this project in the west where swarm sightings are incredibly rare, it’s great to see firsthand a swarm like the ones I’ve been hearing about for the past three years!  Considering I’ve seen two swarms in two weeks, I am hopeful I will get to see several more swarms before the season is over.

It’s been a great year for dragonfly swarms so far, and the peak of the season hasn’t even begun.  I think this is going to be the best year yet!

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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!

_______________

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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com

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

_______________

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 © TheDragonflyWoman.com