November insect activity

Late Friday afternoon, Don, Sabrina and I stopped for a walk along the shoreline at the Baxter Conservation Center near Kars. We soon noticed that there were small red dragonflies flying a couple of feet above the trail, occasionally landing on sticks and leaves to bask in the warmth of the waning sunlight. The last species of the season to be seen around this region is the Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum), formerly called the Yellow-legged Meadowhawk. While I frequently see these in September and October, it’s getting fairly late to be encountering them along the local trails. However, I have to say that it’s very nice to find them flying so late in the season. I saw odonates along the coast while in northern California a couple of weeks ago, but had not expected to find anything still flying here at home, so this was a welcome surprise.

Edit: I should also mention that I saw at least one grasshopper of unknown species, hopping about on one of the trails through the meadow at Baxter Cons. Center, so it seems there is still a little insect activity taking place. Also, we’re seeing tons of the Harmonia axyridis alien species of Lady Beetles around the exterior of our house, as well as many that have managed to get indoors and may be found clustered here and there.

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7 Responses to “November insect activity”

  1. Ruth Says:

    I saw a number of grasshoppers yesterday in Kitchener ON, and two of these red dragonflies. Thanks for IDing them for me. It didn’t seem like Nov 3rd for sure!

  2. Cathy Wilson Says:

    Our trees are still leafy. The impatiens still looks pretty good. I’ve not seen dragonflies in a bit. Nor those pesky lady beetles. But, there have been years when we were inundated. How do you clean them up when they’re inside? When I’ve vacuumed them they really make an unpleasant odor.

  3. robin andrea Says:

    You remind me that when Roger and I were driving down to California we stopped at a rest area in the Sacramento Valley and found lots of dragonflies flying in tandem. I couldn’t tell if they were actually mating while flying, but it definitely looked that way. I wish I could have photographed it. There were no dragonflies flying alone. I haven’t seen any dragonflies here in Santa Cruz, we see Monarch butterflies everyday. They winter here. I think of you whenever I see one!

  4. bev Says:

    Ruth – I’m sure those would also be Autumn Meadowhawks. I must check the meadow trails here at the farm today to see if I can find more grasshoppers. There might still be a few around if you’re seeing them in Kitchener.

    Cathy – The deciduous trees finally dropped most of their leaves this past week. Our Butternut and Black Walnut trees had dried, brown-leaved fronds until a few days ago. Normally, all of the leaves would have dropped in a day or two following a hard frost back in mid- to late September, so that gives some idea of what a different year this has been. We don’t usually have so many Lady Beetles that I give them much thought or have to try to get rid of them. Usually, it’s just 3 or 4 in the corner of the ceiling or some such thing, so I just leave them be. However, I have spoken to people who have them in their houses by the hundreds. That would definitely be more troublesome as they do smell pretty weird if you disturb them! Not sure of how to deal with them as any disturbance seems to cause them to release that odor!

    robin – I saw dragonflies and damselflies up on the McCloud River, and also got to watch darners hunting among the blackberry canes around Endert’s Beach near Crescent City. I’d hoped to get photos near Endert’s, but it was a warm, sunny day, so the dragonflies were extremely active, so no such luck. Yes, I guess you would be seeing Monarchs at Santa Cruz. Back a few years ago, when I was in Pacific Grove in late October, I saw them by the hundreds on the eucalyptus trees in a little park.

  5. DougT Says:

    We are also seeing the meadowhawks. This is the first I have herad of the change in common name. I can’t say that I mind, I never found the legs to be all that yellow. The grasshoppers that we are still seeing are nearly all Melanoplus femurrubrum, though I did see a single Carolina locust just yesterday.

  6. Wayne Says:

    Nice red body and wing pigments! I see that we should also have Sympetrum species around here, but I have not seen any. I should probably extend my range.

    I’ve been remiss in my acquisition of grasshopper knowledge. I’ve noticed that there are individuals seen on warm days anytime in the winter, so that should probably be a cold weather project. If nothing else grasshoppers make such great food for other things!

  7. bev Says:

    Doug – I never found the “yellow legs” name to make all that much sense, so Autumn Meadowhawk sits better with me.

    Wayne – I’m sure you must have some Sympetrum around you. Up here, they are extremely common in late summer and into autumn — really, the most common of all odonates. Also, most species seem very laid back about human contact. I’ve occasionally amused my friends by holding up my index finger and having one of these little dragonflies immediately zip over to perch on it.
    Interesting about the presence of grasshoppers into your winter. At this point, I would regard any that I see as being very late in the season.

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