Swarm Sunday: 6/8/14 to 6/14/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

It was a slow week for dragonfly swarms again this week.  The only reports came from the following locations::

USA:

Fryeburg, ME
Matthews, NC
Eugene, OR
Walla Walla, WA

And here’s the map:

 

6.8.14 to 6.14.14

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

The swarm season seems to be getting off to a slow start, but that’s not entirely unexpected.  Everything in NC is about 2 weeks later than normal this year, and I expect a bit of a slow start every year anyway before things really start to pick up in July.  Still, if you see a swarm next week, I hope you’ll consider reporting it.  Every sightings makes a difference!

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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 (on Tuesday – ouch…): 6/1/14 to 6/7/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

Had company staying at my house all weekend, so this is the first chance I’ve had to get this up. But here it is! Swarms were reported in the following locations over the past week:

USA:

Mt. Olive, IL

And here’s the map:

6.1.14 to 6.7.14

 

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

Woo!  That was exciting, wasn’t it?!  Clearly, it was a bit of a slow week for dragonfly swarms.  Here’s hoping next week will be more exciting!

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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 (on Monday): 1/1/14 to 5/31/14

Dragonfly Swarm Project logo

It’s time once again to start posting Swarm Sunday posts, though I’m a day late on the first one.  Things have been about average so far this year, with the usual handful of swarms that have occurred already.  So far this year, swarms have been reported in the following locations:

USA:

Palm Desert, CA
Sacramento, CA (2 swarms)
Ft. Myers Beach, FL
Sanford, NC
Vass, NC
Wake Forest, NC
Wilmington, NC (2 swarms)
Winston-Salem, NC (2 swarms)
Alexandria, VA

Australia:

Two Rocks, WA

And here’s the map:

dragonfly swarms 1.1.14 to 5.31.14

Red pins are static swarms, yellow pins are migratory. Click the map to enlarge!

As you can see, the bulk of the activity so far has occurred on the east coast, specifically in my own state of NC.  Now, I’ll admit that it’s hard to tell if that is because there really have been more swarms here than in any other state or because I’m here and talk about my project with a lot of people, so there are a lot of people out looking for swarms.  It will be interesting to see what happens over the next month or so!  Normally I’d expect to see more swarms in the Deep South, especially Florida, by now, but there’s just been one report from that part of the country.  Interestingly, there have already been three reports made from California, which usually doesn’t get many swarms at all.  I’ll be keeping and eye out on California this year to see if it’s a higher than average year there or not.

The swarm season is just now getting started, so start looking out for swarms!  If you see one, follow the link below to report it.  It just takes a few moments, and every bit of data improves the story I’ll be able to tell once I start publishing all this.  And, because this is my fifth year of data collection, I’m going to start publishing after this season.  I hope it’s 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 © C. L. Goforth

Best of the Dragonfly Woman 2013

Alex Wild has called on all nature loving bloggers to once again share their favorite photos from 2013.  Because I can’t resist that sort of fun, I’m going to make a contribution.  Here goes!

This has been a crazy year for me and I haven’t been able to blog as much as I normally like to.  My dad’s passing in March was an especially difficult blow – don’t think  I realized how much energy and life that sucked out of me until several months later – but a series of other less than ideal things have happened since.  I’m hoping 2014 will prove to be a better year than 2013, but it wasn’t ALL bad!  And even when things weren’t going quite like I might wish, I found myself turning to my camera over and over as a way to focus my mind on something else for a while – and I got some shots that I’m proud of.  I haven’t shared more than a tiny fraction of my photos for the year with you all, and certainly not as many as I would have liked, but here are my best of 2013, arranged in approximate chronological order of the events in which they were taken.

Windowsill Insects

I became fascinated with the dead insects in windowsills in January this year, after finding this beauty in the windowsill in my boss’ office one day:

Sculptured pine borer

Sculptured pine borer

I’ve since collected and photographed many windowsill insects.  It’s an especially great activity to do in the winter when there aren’t all that many live insects outside to photograph.

Science Online 2013

I have wanted to go to Science Online ever since I learned of its existence, and I was able to go this year!  My favorite moment was not at the actual conference however, but a trip to a local bar with several entomologists that were attending the conference.  This photo isn’t great, but I love it because it reminds me of a fun night, and depicts two lovely, wonderful entomologists,  Alex Wild and Matt Bertone:

Alex and Matt laughing

Alex Wild and Matt Bertone – this is what most of us looked like during our entire outing

A lot of you already know that Alex is an amazing photographer, but so is Matt! If you haven’t ever seen any of his images, please look him up on Flickr.  It’s well worth it!

A Trip to Washington D. C.

My husband and I went to D.C. for a few days in May, just to get out of town.  I took this monarch photo in the butterfly exhibit in the National Museum of Natural History:

Monarch

Monarch

That was my first decent monarch picture, though I have since gotten others in the wild that I like just as well.

Dragonflies Emerge in the Pond

I’d never had a camera with me when I’d seen a dragonfly emerge before I got this shot:

Eastern pondhawk emerging

Eastern pondhawk emerging

… and this one:

Carolina saddlebags emerging

Carolina saddlebags emerging

I watched and photographed six emerging dragonflies for over an hour.  It was so serene and peaceful, and it was a beautiful day.  It was just what I needed, a magical experience I’m going to remember forever.

The New Camera

I bought myself a present in June, a Canon 7D with an MP-E 65 lens.  I absolutely LOVE the camera!  The MP-E 65 lens has a bit of a learning curve, but it was everything I hoped it would be.  Here are some of my first shots:

Asian multicolored ladybeetle

Asian multicolored ladybeetle

Blue dasher

Blue dasher

I think this is my favorite shot of the whole year actually:

I just love the way that beetle is peeking his head around the siding on my house!

National Moth Week 2013

The second annual National Moth Week took place in July.  I attended a moth workshop, a blacklighting event, hosted a moth night at work, and visited my porch light every night.  Part of my zeal for moths this year was driven by the purchase of my new camera, but I got several shots I really liked.  These were both shot during the day with just my point and shoot at the moth workshop:

luna

Luna moth

My first ever luna in North Carolina!  And then there was this imperial moth:

Imperial moth

Imperial moth, Eacles imperialis

First ever sighting of that species period.  I think this, however, was my favorite moth from the week:

Small tolype moth

Small tolype, Tolype notialis

It’s a small tolype, which I’d never heard of before I looked it up in my field guide the night of my moth night at work.  I just love this moth (as a friend of mine would say, it’s fuzzylicious!), and I think I may have been the only person to see it that night.  Somehow that makes it even more special.

My First NC Lethocerus

I found my first large giant water bug, Lethocerus uhleri, in the pond at work one day in late summer.  I was teaching some 4 and 5 year olds how to collect some citizen science data in the pond when I found it.  I was SO excited that I started jumping up and down.  Those kids thought I was nuts, but look how spectacular this insect is!

giant water bug eyes

Wow.  I hadn’t ever really looked at their eyes that closely until the day I got this photo, but they are stunning.

Butterfly Count 2013

We do an annual butterfly count at Prairie Ridge, part of a larger county-wide count.  We only had a team of two this year, but we saw some fun things.  This was my favorite photo from the count:

Horace's duskywing

Horace’s duskywing, Erynnis horatius

Skippers aren’t always the most stunning butterflies, but this was my first Horace’s duskywing and I thought it was rather beautiful.

Visit to Duke Gardens

Did my first visit to the Duke Gardens in late summer this year and it was amazing!  Caught this pair of amorous soldier beetles there:

Soldier beetle lovin

Soldier beetle lovin’

Dragonfly Migration 2013

We never did get very many green darners at the pond at work this year, but there was a nice little surge of them during the migration, which just happened to coincide with an educational dragonfly walk I led.  We caught several dragonflies in nets to get a closer look, and this was one:

Green darner on my knee

Green darner on my knee

I took this one with the cruddy little, VERY cheap digital camera we have at work, which served to remind me that the camera you have with you is the best camera, regardless of the quality.

Winter Aquatic Insects

It’s been chilly in North Carolina recently, so there aren’t many insects out. So, I’ve started bringing aquatic insects home to photograph in my aquatic “studio” (an aquarium with a piece of glass inside to limit the movement of the bugs).  There are my recent favorites:

Photographing aquatics like this takes a lot of patience, but I think it’s well worth it in the end.

So those are my favorites for the year!  If you have your own list of your favorite science and nature photos from 2013, Alex Wild is collecting links to posts and/or collections over on his Scientific American blog, the Compound Eye.  I hope you’ll consider making your own contribution!

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

Merry Christmas from the Dragonfly Woman

I know I’ve been terrible about blogging recently and it’s because I have a whole lot of family and personal stuff going on right now that is sucking up all of my free time, but it wouldn’t be a proper Christmas if I didn’t at least post a Christmas insect for you all!  This year, the hat went on one of my favorite beetles, the delta flower scarab:

Santa scarab-2

Santa scarab

I even got to use a Christmas toy to make this year’s Santa insect: my husband got me a Wacom tablet! Woo!

Hope all of you out there who celebrate Christmas are having a wonderful, spectacular day!  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you are having a wonderful, spectacular, everyday sort of day instead.

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

Friday 5 Coming Tomorrow

Well, here it is, the end of Friday, and I still haven’t gotten my Friday 5 post up for the week yet.  Instead, it’s coming tomorrow!  In the meantime, here’s a photo of the back-end of a dragonfly that I rather like.  It’s not perfect by any means, but I draw your attention to the wingbuds:

Dragonfly nymph

Dragonfly nymph

Look how you can see the tiny little wings developing in there!  And you can even tell this is going to be a skimmer because you can see the tell-tale “boot” shape in the hindwing.  So cool that you can see those things developing right before your eyes!

Until tomorrow!

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

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: A Plague of Ladybugs

Last week, I headed out of my office in our lovely construction trailer at work to go use the restroom in the other building when I saw a ladybug fly into the trailer. A half second later, I saw another on the steps to the door. Then I looked up. The trailer was absolutely CRAWLING with ladybugs! Hundreds of them! I ran back inside and grabbed my camera and snapped photos of all the ladybugs close enough to the ground that I could reach them. In less than three minutes, I had 66 photos of ladybugs – and there were far more than that up near the top of the trailer where I couldn’t reach them. Every one of them was the same species, the invasive Asian multicolored ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis. They have a rather wide range of color and spot patterns, so I decided to make a quick collage of some of the photos I took.  These are all variations within a single species!

Ladybug collage

Ladybug collage

Impressive individual variation in this species – and my collage doesn’t even include any of the black variants! Pretty cool, and an excellent example of why counting spots shouldn’t be the only character you look for when identifying ladybugs.

I probably could have gotten more photos for my collage, but I realized after that 66th photo that I never did complete the trip to the restroom that had prompted me to leave the trailer in the first place.  By the time I got back to the trailer, I couldn’t tell which ones I’d photographed and which ones I hadn’t, so I watched them crawl around a bit more and then went back inside to finish my work.  They might be invasive, but there’s something pretty cool about seeing that many ladybugs in the same place at one time.  Totally made my day!

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