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tramea-lacerata-white-head-860x500On the breath of Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, migrants blew onto Monhegan Island Tuesday morning. No fallout, but we were busy with some of the place-name warblers: Tennessee, Nashville, Cape May. South winds Wednesday produced a quiet morning. The winds are in our favor this morning. I’m out the door to watch the sun rise and the full moon set.

8:30am – Breaking News: Adult Red-headed Woodpecker flying north over the wharf toward the Monhegan School this morning. Now back to the usual blog post …

Most remarkable now on the island are the dragonflies. They’re here in swarms. Monarchs, normally common here, are scarce, as they are across the Northeast. Ruth and I are up to a paltry nine since Sunday.

Above is one of the Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) flying off White Head. They’re on the island in unprecedented numbers and north of their usual range (I have no clue as to why). Also zooming around are Common Green Darners (Anax junius) – thousands of them. These insects are migrating. And we’re tracking them through the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership. I’m also seeing some of the mosaic darners in the genus Aeshna: Shadow Darner (A. umbrosa) and Black-tipped Darner (A. tuberculifera). Here in very low numbers are both of the  Pantala species: Spot-winged Glider (P. hymenaea) and Wandering Glider (P. flavescens).

Common Green Darner at Lobster Cove / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Common Green Darner at Lobster Cove / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Also notable on four wings are Mourning Cloaks – tons of them. Well, on Wednesday there were tons. On Thursday, not so many – or so it seemed. We have seen these hearty butterflies at sea on the crossing. Go figure. They do find some tight space andoverwinter as adults, a rare thing for a butterfly.

Mourning Cloak (dorsal and ventral) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Mourning Cloak (dorsal and ventral) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

One oddity now is an immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron around the Monhegan Library; it’s not looking well. More later. Birds are coming …

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron / © Bryan Pfeiffer

  1. Z says:

    Had a couple of these Saddles-bag jobbers flyering around my garden in inner city Boston last week.

  2. This is great! Thank you… will be there for a way-too-quick visit October 4-6 and hope I’m not too late to see some great birds and bugs… will follow your Twitter feed!

  3. Dick Harlow says:

    Many thanks for the reports Bryan, wish I was there.
    Nice shots of the Dragons.
    Still trying to get decent ones on the wing.

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