West Michigan is finally awaking from its winter slumber. In the last week or so the trees have leafed out, the grass has greened, and perennials are shooting up out of the ground.
The arrival of dragonflies is another sure sign that spring has taken hold. Green Darners are the first to arrive in mid April. The early arrivals are migrants from parts south. It takes several more weeks for the waters in the area to warm up enough to support the dragonfly nymphs, and for those nymphs to actually transform into the winged adults.
Locally, the Dot Tailed Whiteface is one of the first dragonflies to complete this process. Last Monday I was happy to see the first few adults flying over the dry grass of still brown fields.
The dot tails that I encountered last Monday all had the sheen on their wings that tells you they are newly emerged. Their coloration is in the immature form – they will lose most of the yellow and turn to black, except for the dot on their abdomen and their white faces. True to their nature, the dot tails clung to vegetation very low to the ground, making photos a bit difficult. But their arrival is welcome, and means it won’t be long before Calico Pennants, Spangled Skimmers, and other dragons abound.
Another year in all the millions of years that these creatures have graced the Earth….