Friday, May 18, 2012

Meadowhawks in May in Marathon??!!

I was watching a dozen or so Common Green Darners cruising, mating and oviposting on a smallish beaver pond in town this afternoon when I flushed a reddish meadowhawk from the shore - very strange for May. I encountered two more reddish males nearby.

[click on images to enlarge]
Typically I don't see any meadowhawks until well into summer when adults emerge from ephemeral pools, ponds and lakes. Of course these weren't the typical resident meadowhawks. They were Variegated Maeadowhawks (Sympetrum corruptum) - highly migratory members of the genus who likely arrived from the south in recent days (along with legions of butterflies). I returned later and netted one to confirm the ID - a new species to me.

The Thunder Bay Field Naturalists' Odonata checklist notes only two previous occurrences of the species: a 1939 record at Silver Islet and a 2003 teneral at the Wolf River mouth.
The only other ode I've seen on the wing is the Common Green Darner - conspicuous anywhere along the north shore these days. Here's a male I saw near the mouth of the Pic River on May 17.

May 19th Update: We found more Variegated Meadowhawks in Pic River and beside rocky splash pools along Lake Superior today so I guess it's official, we've been invaded.

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