Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Sander(ling)s

You'll have to indulge me the crappy Olympic pun.

There were a lot more sanderlings around earlier in the month leading to more that were in still pretty closer to breeding plumage than usual.  This might be the last post where I feature Sanderlings, but given that most that we see are either fairly far into their moult or are black and white juvies I spent some time shooting them when they'd walk up in decent light.

Note the lack of a hind toe

I guess I could pontificate about the wing stripe, but I'm not feeling it right now.

In Ode news, I've seen a few Stream (?) River Cruisers, possibly the biggest dragonflies I've yet encountered and netted a few more Cobra Clubtails but neither of the other clubtails that are around (and one would be fairly noteworthy...)

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Coverbug

I'd wondered vaguely at times which dragonfly is on the cover of the book.  I'd been seeing an orange dragonfly at the Harbor Shores marsh that I was thinking was a young meadowhawk of some large species before I saw a couple tandemed up and ovipositing.  It took 2 trips to get a decent shot of what turns out to be Wandering Glider, the cover model for the Paulson book.
I've hit one with a net but have had no luck at collecting one.

Last week I netted another clubtail, this one is a female Cobra Clubtail.
Here's a closer look at it (as held by Hazel):
Since there's already a specimen record for this one I let it go, we set it down on the trumpet vine (which I'm sure no self-respecting Cobra Club would ever sit on, but I'm sure it'd prefer that to an acetone bath):

Powdered Dancer is very common at water's edge, the males dangle upward in the air while the females oviposit.  A lot of the damselflies do this, but this species seems to adopt this posture very commonly.

I'd like to say I have some prospect of a decent bird post on the horizon, but who knows, maybe low expectations will actually be helpful.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Riverine Clubtail

I'm gonna be honest.  When I caught my first Clubtail back in May I was too chicken to pick it up and photographed it through a jar.  I'm proud to say I've progressed.  I caught this guy (actually a female) this afternoon behind my house.  I spent about an hour looking through the book to find one with pale legs, narrow black stripes (T3 and T4) on the side of the body, and the unique pattern on the front of the thorax above the head (likened in the book to a flower being dumped out of a vase).
It appears to be a Riverine Clubtail, the 4th LP specimen at least as of whenever the Michigan Odonata survery was last updated (assuming I haven't blown the ID).

I saw one other clubtail but was too slow on the draw to net it (though batting .500 is really good for me).  I connected on a much lower rate with the Riverview Park Meadowhawks (and they're a pretty easy one to net).  I'm still not convinced that the hamule (male genital spur at the base of the tail behind the legs) matches any picture in the book.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer re-runs

I'll be the first to admit that this post feels pretty similar to the last one, but what are you going to do.  An evening beach check earlier in the week produced my best yet Willet flight shot; just like the Hudsonian godwit last fall though, full frame on the beach equals lost wing tips when it's flushed. 

A few Bonaparte's non- or post-breeders are filtering through.  This bird is probably about 1 year old given the faded worn dark markings in the upper wing coverts.

There's a few new odes appearing, I've seen Prince Baskettail and at least one (maybe 2) species of Glider, unfortunately haven't been able to get photos.  The different flavors of skimmer are generally more accommodating.
Here's Twelve-spotted (above) and Widow (below):

Thursday, July 5, 2012

And the answer is ...

Ruby Meadowhawk (I think).

Darrin O'Brien was kind enough to look at the immature meadowhawk pics and (while he suspected they were Ruby) confirmed my suspicion that the small parts are just as immature as the colors and so aren't totally reliable.

Earlier in the week I went back to Riverview and found that a few had turned red.
Their total numbers had also gone way up, I may have to return to try to get one with its whole body in focus, though the evening light was nice.

Here's a close-up of the relevant area...
It's the shape of the hamule in males that's supposed to be distinctive; this one still doesn't exactly match the drawing.

No such identification problems with this Amberwing though.
It's another example of a common ode that's not on the Berrien list for lack of a specimen.  I haven't had one close enough to even swing at yet though.

I do have a Pondhawk already,

As well as a Halloween Pennant
The book says their coloration, size, and flight style may be close enough to Monarchs' to decrease avian predation.  They always perch on the highest vertical stalk (frequently a pretty whippy one) projecting from land next to the water.

I haven't posted many butterflies this year though it's been a very good year for them, but this tiger swallowtail was in nice evening light.
The drought left a little something to be desired from the color of the milkweed though.

Finally a Hackberry Emporor (I think - I can't find my butterfly book), a lifer butterfly I saw walking the clay stream in Warren Dunes.  I was hoping that different habitat would produce some different odes, but it wasn't to be.