Sunday 7 July 2019

Dragonfly and Damselfly Surveys 2019

I had the pleasure of completing some fieldwork again this year looking for the Endangered Rapids Clubtail dragonfly on rivers throughout southwestern Ontario.  Our work focused on the Maitland, Bayfield, Thames, Nith and Grand Rivers.  This species has been recorded from the last three, but not the Maitland or Bayfield.  I had a lot of fun boating down and wading through stretches of these rivers in June and early July looking for dragonflies.  Naturally, we found other wildlife as well while on the rivers!

I particularly enjoyed using my new kayak to complete some of these surveys!  The dragonflies and damselflies were drawn to it like a magnet for perching!  I even had two different Rapids Clubtail perch on the bow of the boat, including the female below. After landing on my kayak, she flew off into the riffle and dipped her abdomen into the water column to deposit eggs!

Rapids Clubtail female - note the mass of eggs at the tip of abdomen.

Rapids Clubtail male
The surveys were successful, in that I did end up finding 3 new sites for this species (on a river where the species is known from).

River Jewelwing mating

Midland Clubtail
Rusty Snaketail

Common Baskettail

American Rubyspot
 Of course we also saw lots of reptiles including lots of turtles.
Snapping Turtle

Young Snapping Turtle
 The highlight of the reptiles was definitely finding this Queensnake!  The first I have ever seen in the wild!  We took some photos and promptly let it go hunt more crayfish!

I'll take a Mocha...Emerald, Please!

Last week I was carrying out some insect surveys on a property in the Stoney Creek area and saw a large dragonfly foraging on the edge of woodland.  It was almost the size of a darner, but a bit more slender overall.  As it perched on a shrub I got a good look through the binoculars and knew it was a large Somatochlora (genus) emerald of some sort.  I crept up slowly and snagged it with my net and took a bunch of photos to ID later.  Back at the car I went through the guide book and quickly figured out it was a female Mocha Emerald!  A very rare species in Ontario, with a sub-national (S-rank) of S2 'Imperiled'.  Looking on inaturalist I only see 10 records in Ontario and none in the Hamilton Region.  In Ontario, this species is mostly restricted to Chatham-Kent and Lambton County areas.  What a thrill to find such a rare species and a new one for me!

Beautiful Places I have Seen - June

My lack of posting lately has been a reflection of my busyness rather than a lack of things to write about.  My work in June was carried out at a frenetic pace that left little time to do other things.  Now that things are slowing down (a bit) I have some time to post a few pictures of some of the wonderful places my work has taken me in he past month!  In another post I will detail some of the highlights of the wildlife, but for now just enjoy the scenery!

These two photos are from a lovely ravine in the Hamilton area!

Thames River near Ingersoll.

Maitland River rapids

Morris Tract on the Maitland River

Caitlyn and I just got a pair of kayaks and have been having a blast going out to Belwood Lake the past few weekends.  I have also used mine for some dragonfly surveys at work on the Nith and Grand Rivers!