Friday, July 1, 2016

Tiger Beetle Tally 2016

In the past year or so, the Sauk-Prairie Canoe Launch near Sauk City, Sauk County has become a popular destination for tiger beetle nerds.



Historically I had associated this location with good shorebirding at certain times of the year. One of my firsts visits to this site was in August 2014 when I chased this Red Knot found by Jim Schwarz.



It was during that early August visit in 2014 that I noticed the dry sandscape leading to the river held various tiger beetle species that were taking flight along the path in front of me. The wet sand beach had tiger beetles as well. I recall Festive, Big Sand and Bronzed being present that day.

Big Sand Tiger Beetle, Nikon 1 V3, 70-300mm, 27June2016
Subsequent visits yielded impressive numbers of Bronzed Tiger Beetles and robberflies too (of course)!

Efferia albibarbis (male), Sauk-Prairie launch, 27June2016

Efferia albibarbis (female) with prey, Sauk-Prairie launch, 27June2016
I've been told eight tiger beetle species have been recorded at the Sauk-Prairie Canoe Launch in recent years.

Sandy Stream Tiger Beetle, Sauk-Prairie launch, 27June2016
Peck's Landing, near Spring Green also seems to be a good candidate for sandbar associated tiger beetle species. I visited this canoe launch earlier this spring and found several Bronzed and a probable Hairy-necked roaming the flats.

Bronzed Tiger Beetles humping, Peck's Landing, Sauk Co, 2June2016
I suspect a return visit could also yield Sandy Stream. This particular location lacks the dry sand blow habitat of the Sauk-Prairie Canoe launch. Therefore tiger beetle diversity isn't quite as impressive. However, with Spring Green Prairie State Natural Area, the seemingly pinnacle location for Wisconsin tiger beetles, just a few miles north up the road, one could round out her tiger beetle species list for the area by a visit to the prairie.

Earlier this week (June 27), I made my first voyage of 2016 to the Sauk-Prairie Canoe Launch. I finally found and photographed Hairy-necked Tiger Beetles. To my frustration, I failed to find this species in the past despite reports by others of them being in this area.

Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle, Sauk-Prairie Canoe Launch, 27June2016 
This particular tiger beetle outing yielded 5 tiger beetle species: Sandy Stream, Bronzed, Hairy-necked, Big Sand and a single Punctured near the parking lot.

Punctured Tiger Beetle, Sauk-Prairie Launch, 27June2016

 It's been a good summer for finding a nice variety of tiger beetle species here in Wisconsin.

Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle, Dunbar Barrens, 12June2016

In early June, my breeding bird surveys took me to Marinette County where I found two additional life tiger beetles, Northern Barrens Tiger Beetles and Boreal Long-lipped, at Dunbar Barrens State Natural Area. After failed searches for Northern Barrens in Adams County, I was surprised how easy this species was to locate at the Dunbar Barrens.

Boreal Long-lipped Tiger Beetle, Dunbar Barrens, 12June2016

Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle, Dunbar Barrens, 12June2016

As of this posting, Common Claybank, Ghost and Twelve-spotted Tiger Beetles are the three remaining species I have yet to see in Wisconsin. I'll be quite lucky to even find just one of these the remainder of this year!


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