A Fascinating Dragonfly Hike at Black Creek

By Nancy Leonard

Bob Marr Leads the Group

Group members of all ages gather around Bob Marr as he teaches about dragonflies. Photo by Nancy Leonard

Bob Marr was joined at Black Creek Nature Sanctuary by 21 eager participants of all ages on the sunny first day of September.  Bob has been interested in dragonflies for several years and has submitted information to the Michigan Odonata Survey. He has completed species lists for Black Creek Nature Sanctuary and for the Robert T. Brown Nature Sanctuary in Houghton County.

We gathered in the parking area at the Black Creek trailhead and within minutes, Bob had captured a couple of Saffron-winged Meadowhawk dragonflies. He pointed out the yellow coloration on the leading edge of their wings as one of their primary identifying characteristics. How amazing to see the female deposit her eggs on his finger, the rich yellow eggs tiny but still large enough for us to observe!

The group didn’t have to go far on the trail to find a perfect spot for netting and observing.  The vernal ponds have dried for the most part, but small pools remain behind with vegetation providing egg-laying surfaces for dragonflies and damselflies.

Bob Examines a Dragonfly

Bob examines a dragonfly. Photo by Nancy Leonard

Participants that had nets practiced their technique with Bob’s instruction. The Meadowhawks were present in great numbers, many of them identified as the White-face Meadowhawk.  Several species of darners were noted, including the Canada Darner and the Shadow Darner.  Species of damselflies were also observed, including the Spotted Spreadwing Damselfly. Other creatures sharing the place with us were discovered and included a number of Northern Leopard Frogs, plus a juvenile Solitary Sandpiper, busily feeding on a mudflat.

Some in the group lingered with Bob to discover even more species while others continued hiking the trail toward the spectacular creek-fed lagoon overlooking pristine Lake Superior shoreline. Everyone agreed that Black Creek Nature Sanctuary had to be the perfect place to enjoy such a beautiful day in the Keweenaw.

If you’d like to take part in an educational field trip, visit the MNA Events Calendar for a list of upcoming trips near you.

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