Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Last Dragonflies of the Year

November has arrived and as expected there have already been a few days with a bit of wet snow and the temperature dropping below freezing at night, but Mother Nature was in a good mood on the 11th and the weather was sunny with the temperature hitting the 16°C mark. Warm enough that eleven male and twelve female Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum) – including one tandem pair – were flying at a marsh about ½ kilometer west of Tweed (44.46889°, -77.31528°).

The latest local dragonfly I have encountered was a male Autumn Meadowhawk (what else?) on November 18th, 2009, but we experienced an exceptionally warm autumn that year. This year the weather is conforming to seasonal norms and the long range forecast calls for much cooler weather, so these will probably be the last dragonflies of 2014. (The last fliers, there are still lots of naiads under the ice for those who care to go and search for them rather than waiting until next summer.)

No other odonates made it into November but a few came fairly close, here are the runners-up for 2014:

Spotted Spreadwing (Lestes congener)
– three males, one female, October 27th, 2014
Lance-tipped Darner (Aeshna constricta)
– an old male, October 25th, 2014
Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
– one female, October 23th, 2014