Last year we had confirmed Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera (Périthème délicate) at St-Lazare sand pits, not just one insect but many. Proof of colonization is whether the colonist persists after their initial incursion into new areas. Yesterday at least ten P. tenera were flying at the pits, they are here and have survived one Québec winter at least. This episode and the recent colonization of the same site by Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata (Traméa Lacérée) brought back some memories for me from the 1990s, a time when I led odonata walks around Colwick Country Park and when we were seeing range expansion vividly for the first time.
After ten years away I’m quite out of touch with the changes to the odonata population of the UK but while I was there it was clear that some species from Europe were starting to be found in the UK for the first time and that some were in the early stages of colonization. Species with an existing southerly UK population base were also expanding ranges and the fact that the expansion was to the north indicated that the conditions limiting their previous range were changing. For me the iconic species that well illustrated the changes taking place was the Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum (Orthétrum réticulé). In a matter of ten years the species had advanced from the south of England and was beginning to appear in southern Scotland. This expansion could not be said to be evidence of Global Warming but it is evidence of change, a change that we don’t fully understand.
From an historical perspective the information on Québec odonata is available if limited by the small number of enthusiasts previously available to collect it. Perhaps we are now seeing the same changes in dragonfly populations taking place in North America or perhaps range expansion is partly explained by a former paucity of recorders being bolstered by a new, informed and highly mobile enthusiasts offering better coverage. I favour the range expansion approach myself and I think that the next twenty years will see annual additions to province/state ode lists as the World available to dragonflies expands.
Back to the odeing and a couple of visits so far this week have been successful in adding species to the St-Lazare year list. With a fine weekend in the offing I’m optimistic of getting to a few sites further afield but for now we are down at the pits.
In addition to the species listed in the last post the conditions have brought the following out at St-Lazare sand pits: Fragile Forktail Ischnura posita (Agrion posé); Lyre-tipped Spreadwing Lestes unguiculatus (Leste Onguiculé); Slender Spreadwing Lestes rectangularis (Leste élancé); Azure Bluet Enallagma aspersum (Agrion saupoudré); Calico Pennant Celithemis elisa (Célithème indienne); Orange Bluet Enallagma signatum (Agrion orangé); Skimming Bluet Enallagma geminatum (Agrion minuscule); Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Agrion des scirpes); Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera (Périthème délicate); Saffron-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum costiferum Sympérum rubigineux); Band-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum semicinctum (Sympétrum semi-ambré); Familiar Bluet Enallagma civile (Agrion civil).
I’ve also been working with the newish camera, a Nikon Coolpix P510. It has what I’d call a moody focus and sometimes it just will not focus on your subject matter. It seems better when you use the manual settings, especially ‘A’ (aperture priority). After my comments on the last post viz that I would drown it in a bucket if it kept misbehaving, my wife Sandra has assured me that I won’t! Below are the fruits of my labours, I don’t think I’ll be getting any flight shots with it though.
Below a couple of habitat shots. Flooded wheel ruts have been quickly colonized by Eastern Red Damsels.
Beaver dams have created many good ode habitats at St-Lazare but have altered significantly others.
The ode photos are: Eastern Forktail Ischnura verticalis (Agrion vertical) orange form immature. Tule Bluet Enallagma carunculatum (Agrion des scirpes). White-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum obtrusum (Sympétrum éclaireur). Lyre-tipped Spreadwing Lestes unguiculatus (Leste Onguiculé). Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera (Périthème délicate) with supporting cast. Skimming Bluet Enallagma geminatum (Agrion minuscule). Familiar Bluet Enallagma civile (Agrion civil). Orange Bluet Enallagma signatum (Agrion orangé). Calico Pennant Celithemis elisa (Célithème indienne). Band-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum semicinctum (Sympétrum semi-ambré).
Any comments or questions re my IDs are always welcome.