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Algonquin Park Dragonfly and Damselfly Count -- Thursday July 5 2018


Hello Fellow Dragon and Damsel Hunters,

This year's Algonquin Park Odonate Count is taking place on Thursday July 5th, the day following the Butterfly Count.

This "count" consists of sampling a section of Algonquin Park along what is known as the Highway 60 corridor. Participants are split into five sections within the sampling circle (i.e. area A, area B, etc). Each of these five teams are tasked with sampling i) the diversity of dragonfly and damselfly species and ii) the number of individuals seen of each species. Identification can be made by visual observation. However, most species require in-hand examination to identify. Hence, most of the day is filled by actively netting these insects.

The count begins at 8:45 a.m. in the restaurant at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre. Be there on time. This facility ("The Sunday Creek Cafe") is located at the km 43 marker on HWY 60. This is about 15 minutes west of the town of Whitney. Be aware that a GPS device may choose a different location for "Algonquin Park" as a destination. Algonquin Park is over seven thousand square kilometres and has many access points, so make sure your device is navigating to this precise location and not some other faraway destination.

Participants should enter the Visitor Centre through the service entrance since the main doors used by the public will still be locked at this time. These doors are beside the main entrance and up a small paved driveway adjacent to a large warehouse.

I will brief participants in the restaurant beginning at 8:45. Participants will be put in to teams at this time. Each team will be managed by a Team Leader, who is familiar with Algonquin Park and dragonflies and damselflies in general. Vehicle passes are also afforded to participants at this time. These must be displayed on the dash of your vehicle, and are valid until 10 p.m. that evening. Following this briefing the teams will split and enter the field for the day.

All participants will reconvene back in the Visitor Centre for 4:45 p.m. Ontario Parks is generously offering a free dinner for all participants which we will eat at 5 p.m. in the restaurant. Following this meal (~6 p.m.) we will move to the Visitor Centre theatre. I will have a species list projected on the screen, and we will efficiently move through a compilation of the day's findings, group-by-group. Most of the day's work is finished when this count wraps up.

Two species (the Vesper Bluet and the Stygian Shadowdragon) only appear at dusk, and so any participants that are keen to remain will meet at the Lake Opeongo docks for 8 p.m. to survey for these two unique species.

If you are interested in being a part of this year's Dragonfly and Damselfly Count you can contact me by email at peter.b.mills@hotmail.com. Please tell me:

i) Your name, and the names of any other participants coming with you

ii) Your experience with dragonflies and damselflies. You could consider rating yourself from 1 (no experience) to 3 (very experienced). Please don't be bashful to tell me if you are truly a 3, nor embarrassed that you are a 1. Beginners are welcome. Honesty is key, and this is helpful to me in crafting well-balanced teams.

iii) Whether you prefer a meat or vegetation dinner option. Dinner is lasagna.

You will want a packed lunch, clothes and footwear suited for the field and wet terrain, and a plan for biting insects (long sleeves and hat or DEET-containing repellant or a bug jacket, etc).

One last thing: you will enjoy your day much more if you have a net to capture Dragons and Damsels with. Any net is good, though one with a deep bag and long handle is best. You can participate without a net, but be aware that your ability to contribute to the daily count will be limited. It would be helpful for me to know if you do not have your own net.

Algonquin Park is a phenomenal landscape and it has a rich dragonfly and damselfly diversity. We average 67 species for the day which are easily identified using Algonquin's own field guide authored by Colin Jones, Peter Burke, Matt Holder, and Andrea Kingsley. This is a great opportunity to see and learn about these fascinating insects.

Please contact me if you have any other questions,

Peter Mills

peter.b.mills@hotmail.com


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The Muskoka Bird Board is a place to share reports of birds and other nature sightings in Muskoka and surrounding areas. You may also post a question about birds or birding in general. You don't have to include an email address in your post. Remember to include the location of your sightings - even the nearest town or major crossroads would be fine. See the Posting Guidelines for more information and helpful tips about using the Muskoka Bird Board.

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