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Algonquin Provincial Park Odonata Count -- Results


Algonquin Provincial Park's 21st Annual Dragonfly and Damselfly Count was held on July 6th 2017.


The day finished at a tally of 71 species. Our average is 51 species over the 21 years. However, much has changed over that time. Far more people participate now than in the past, and we are also more informed about productive places to visit within the study area. Using only the last ten years of data our species diversity ranges from 63 to 71, with 67 being average. So, by either measurement, it was a good day. Our best day ever was our 2015 count when we recorded 72 species.




A few highlights, or noteworthy points:


EASTERN RED DAMSEL (6)


This species has declined in our sampling area over the last ten years—probably because the ditch near Lookout Trail becomes less favourable as it slowly transitions from a grassy seepage to a dense thicket of alders. This ditch is the only reliable place for this species within the circle.


SUBARCTIC BLUET (4)


We have detected this species on only 52% of our counts. It is common in certain places (Eos Lake and parts of the Sunday Creek Complex, and to a lesser extent Beaverpond Trail), but is often finished by the time our count takes place.


AZURE BLUET (5)


This species is effectively absent from Algonquin's ode fauna aside from a series of small pools in the ditch along the Martin Lake Forestry Road. Azure Bluets appear to be excluded from Algonquin for some reason, but they find favourable conditions (or a lack of competition) in these pools that has allowed long-term persistence at this site.


FRAGILE FORKTAIL (1)


This species is new for the count. It was first found in the Park in 2011 by Bruce Ripley. It has since showed up a handful of other places in the Highway 60 corridor and the Park's "east side", but remains unreliable. Maybe these sightings are from very small or short-lived populations that establish from migrants. Congrats to Chris Evans, Ruth Noland-Flores, Brent Turcotte, and Stephanie Keeler for this find.


COMMON GREEN DARNER (2)


Along the Highway 60 corridor Green Darners are common in the spring [migratory arrivals], are almost totally absent throughout the summer. They appear again in mid-late August as tenerals that head south. Bat Lake is the most reliable place for this species in our area and it may be present in the adult form throughout the summer at this unique lake.


HARLEQUIN DARNER (0)


We had none this year. Simply as a point of interest, we have detected this species on only 20% of our counts. It is usually finished in our area before our count takes place.


CYRANO DARNER (4)


Like the Harlequin Darner, this species is at the tail-end of its flight-period during our count. We have detected them only on a third of our counts.


HARPOON CLUBTAIL (1)


UHLER'S SUNDRAGON (2)


This species is fairly common at sizeable creeks and rivers in June in Algonquin. We have found them on 71% of our counts.


STYGIAN SHADOWDRAGON (0)


Despite a concerted effort at the Opeongo Docks at the witching hour, we did not find any shadowdragons this year. Our count is slightly early for this species; we only get them about a third of the time.


WIDOW SKIMMER (5)


This species is rare in Algonquin and perhaps only a vagrant. However, the fact that we have detected low numbers on four out of the five most recent counts may suggest it is becoming more common.


SKI-TIPPED EMERALD (3)


KENNEDY'S EMERALD (2)


OCELLATED EMERALD (3)


CLAMP-TIPPED EMERALD (10)


BRUSH-TIPPED EMERALD (8)


The Cameron Lake Forestry Road (off of the Opeongo Road) remains the best bet to see this Genus, many of which breed in the bog at km 3. Please note that while this is a public-access road, only foot-traffic is permitted. No motorized vehicles or bicycles are allowed.


Thanks to everyone for a great day, and especially to Colin Jones who organized this event and collected data before I was around.



Our most common species for the count remain:


1. CHALK FRONTED CORPORAL

2. FROSTED WHITEFACE

3. MARSH BLUET


Our three rarest are:


1. ELFIN SKIMMER (once; one in 2008)

2. EBONY BOGHAUNTER (once; one in 2015)

3. FORCIPATE EMERALD (twice; one in 1996 and one in 2014)


I always hope to find forcipata on count day. Permitting a few statistical assumptions about how we sample our area, it looks like it requires about 1500km of wandering/a mere 380 hours to passively intercept one of these beasts. No wonder no one likes to miss a swing.



See you next year,


-PBM





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