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Algonquin Park Dragonfly and Damselfly Count -- Thursday July 4th 2019

This year's Algonquin Park Dragonfly and Damselfly Count is taking place on Thursday July 4th.

This "count" consists of sampling a section of Algonquin Park for Dragonflies and Damselflies (both number of individuals, and total species diversity). Participants are split into five different teams, each assigned to a section within the sampling circle (i.e. area A, area B, etc).

Identification of these insects can be made by visual observation. However, most species require in-hand examination to properly identify. Hence, most of the day is filled by actively netting these insects.

The count begins with a briefing 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 the same size as Prince Edward Island, 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.

During the briefing participants will be provided with a vehicle pass. These must be displayed on the dash of your vehicle (valid until after the count is finished). Following this briefing the teams will enter the field for the day.

All participants will reconvene back in the theatre at the Visitor Centre for 4:45 p.m. 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.

There will be the opportunity to purchase a dinner from the Visitor Centre restaurant following this compilation to rest and socialize with other participants.

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 must contact me by email at

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.

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, DEET-containing repellant, 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 count will be limited.

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

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