Citizen Science Spotlight: Things with Wings
Published: September 28, 2012
It has been an exciting season for our winged creatures at Felix Neck and across the Island. With new dragonfly species identified at the Sanctuary and numerous chicks fledged on the beaches, our Citizen Science staff and volunteers have been busy!
Caitlin Borck, Coastal Waterbird Program Coordinator, reports:
Felix Neck and the Coastal Waterbird Program monitored a total of seventeen sites across the island. Piping plovers were more successful this year than in 2011, with five chicks fledged! One chick was able to fledge from State Beach despite all of the foot traffic, spending most of its time in the dune grass behind symbolic fencing erected by Felix Neck staff. American Oystercatchers fledged six chicks from fifteen pairs, with one pair relocating to the Cape partway through the season. There was one successful least tern colony nesting on a site never previously used. Working closely with shorebird monitor Alex Greene and a record number of volunteers, it was a fun and rewarding season protecting birds on Martha's Vineyard.
Susie Bowman, Teacher-Naturalist, writes:
Earlier this summer, Turtle Pond at Felix Neck was the site of much excitement as two species of dragonflies were identified for the first time at the sanctuary.The Painted Skimmer (photo by Susie Schwoch) is a large and striking dragonfly. Its body is brown and orange. Each of the four wings has striking brown markings and an amber leading edge.The smaller Dot-tailed Whiteface is much more understated, but its name is much more descriptive.This dragonfly is almost entirely black with a bright yellow spot near the end of its abdomen (tail). Look closely to notice its bright white face, which can be seen beneath its large brown eyes when looking straight on at the dragonfly. August and September are terrific months to observe dragonflies and damselflies at Felix Neck. Plan a visit to Turtle Pond to observe these and other dragonflies and damselflies. Their range of colors, from subtle slate blue and brown to bright blue, red, green, orange, and white will amaze you.
Thank you to all of our volunteers this season! Together 34 Citizen Science volunteers logged over 345 hours of time on the beaches, and in fields and forests. If you are interested in helping us monitor wildlife, please visit our Citizen Science page or send us an email with your interests and availability.