It is Sunday and I’m in the Allegan forest, looking for dragonflies. It’s a calm day, little wind, temperatures mild in the mid 80’s. But there is hardly a dragon to be found. I visit many locales, looking, but only a handful of subjects present themselves.
That is just the way it goes, I guess. Above is an unidentified Meadowhawk, the last photos of the day, presented first here.
Earlier in the week, I was worried that the massive oil spill upstream on the Kalamazoo River – probably the worst in Michigan’s history - would have cascaded down to the Allegan forest by now. But the only signs I see of the spill are yellow vested EPA workers taking water samples off the M89 overpass. Thankfully, the oil has been contained upstream so far, and let’s hope the cleanup efforts keep it from spreading.
But oil or no, I find few dragonflies. I visit fields off 115th Ave, 44th Street, 46th Street, north of the river on 126th Ave, and then back to 48th street. Not much is happening. My goal was to get a shot of a mature male blue dasher before they fade for the season, but I may already be too late. I saw one uncooperative mature female (sorry – no good photos of her) and that was it. Actually, I think I have only seen one mature male Blue Dasher this season – and that while walking across a parking lot. Well – hopefully they will be around for a while.
Otherwise – I was happy to see a few more Band Winged Meadowhawks out and about. Here’s a shot with way too much negative space, but I like it –
And here is a male and a female Band Winged Meadowhawk, in that order:
Despite the dearth of dragonflies, I had a very nice morning and early afternoon out in the game area. I only ran into one person out there, and that was some guy deep in the woods who was cooking up something in a small pot over a little fire – probably just tinkering around with his Sunday brunch.
The one insect I didn’t photograph but that was out aplenty was the European Honey Bee – Apis Mellifera. The Russian Knapweed is in peak bloom (maybe a little past peak) and some of the fields were full of it. In some locations I felt like I was standing in an Apiary – the buzz of the bees was intense and they were everywhere, thousands of them. Not only bees, but lots of butterflies – Monarch, Spice Bush, Tiger Swallow Tails, and several Giant Swallowtails – were feeding on the knapweed.
Knapweed is a nasty invasive – not good food for deer and other herbivores - but apparently the flowers are good enough for pollinators and nectar drinkers. Anyhow – was great to see so many bees around. They really were everywhere and the only time I have heard buzzing like that is when I’ve been near human managed hives, which were nowhere near here. Given the stress that bees have been undergoing, let’s hope this is a positive indicator for them, at least locally here in Michigan.
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