Major Migration of Dragonflies Reported on Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – A huge chunk of the Oregon coast is now talking about really big numbers of dragonflies flitting through the region, an annual migration that seems unusually large to some. (Photo courtesy OSU Press).
The Tillamook-Headlight Herald's website talks about thousands being seen in Rockaway Beach in recent days. One report comes from Newport of somewhat sizable numbers. Another report called Yachats “dragonfly city,” and the OSU Press is saying it has reports coming in from Seal Rock, Cannon Beach, Neskowin and more, including southwest Washington.
OSU Press spokesman Tom Booth said the while the Oregon coast whale migrations are always big news, these migrations of the dragonfly known as Variegated Meadowhawk are just as spectacular but essentially a secret.
“Timing and numbers vary year to year, but 2013 appears to be a major migration,” Booth said. “At the onset of fall cold fronts, the main species involved, the Variegated Meadowhawk, seems to funnel to the coast and head south. But beyond that, little is known about these fall migrants.”
The creatures are red in appearance, and Booth quotes experts as saying these are great mysteries. Cary Kerst and Steve Gordon are co-authors of Dragonflies and Damselflies, and they say they don't know where they're coming from, where they're going, or what causes them to start moving.
Scientists are not having much success in tracking what these little red critters are up to, so like a recent request by bird scientists to get help from citizens tracking birds in Oregon, there is a similar partnership for dragonflies. The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership offers an opportunity for people to collect and record dragonfly migration observations. Citizen scientists monitor the timing, duration, and direction of travel of migrating dragonflies, and note any additional behaviors observed in migratory flight such as feeding or mating.
You can join this group at http://www.migratorydragonflypartnership.org/index/welcome
The Dragonflies and Damselflies book also features descriptions of the thirty best sites in Oregon to observe these amazing insects, a useful tool for viewing uncommon species in spectacular settings.
Exactly how long these dragonflies will be wandering the Oregon coast is hard to say, so you may want to head out this weekend or early in the week if you hope to catch it.
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