Survey of Main Stem of the Millers River

For Rare Odonates

10 May 2004

Survey Forms Stations Surveyed Species list 


 The goals of this study are to establish the extent of rare odonate populations along the main stem of the Millers River and to develop a baseline of general odonate population and distribution. This survey may help illuminate differences in adult and nymphal use of the river; the effects of dams on odonate populations; the correlation of substrate, adjacent land use, and other physical factors with the presence or absence of rare odonates; and changes in abundance or species from year to year.  Additionally, this project will involve the public in a scientific study of rare odonates in Massachusetts .  

Survey Protocol  

A series of 21 survey stations has been established along the main stem of the Millers, from just above its confluence with the Connecticut in Erving and Montague, to just downstream of Lower Naukeag Lake in Ashburnham, a distance of about __ miles of river.  These stations were chosen at convenient access points, somewhat less than every 5 km along the river, and above and below each of the four dams on the river.  The survey coordinators (Lynn Harper and Dave Small) will visit each station in July and August of 2004 (during full leaf-out and relatively constant water level) to record a description of the site, including substrate, current, water clarity and depth, slope and composition of riverbank, vegetation on each bank, and adjacent human land uses.  GPS coordinates and directions for access to each station have already been recorded.  

For each station, surveyors should report odonates observed anywhere along the stretch of river 300 yards up- and downstream of the access point.  Surveyors do not have to cover all of this 600-yard stretch on each survey.  Odonates observed up to 15 meters (50 feet) perpendicular to the bank should also be included in the survey.  If possible, both banks of the river should be surveyed at each station.  Odonates observed beyond these boundaries should not be included as part of a standard survey, but should be reported separately.  

To the extent possible with volunteer surveyors, each station should be visited by a surveyor for a minimum of one hour per two-week period from mid-May 15 through early October (a total of 10 such periods) at least once in a three-year period (2004-2006).  A web site will be established and updated regularly so all surveyors can know if a particular station has been surveyed for a given period.  Obviously, the more a station is surveyed, the better, but surveyors should attempt to survey unvisited stations before repeatedly surveying any one site.

A survey will consist of looking for adults, tenerals, exuviae, ovipositing females, tandem pairs, and/or nymphs, at the surveyor’s discretion and using whatever methods the surveyor finds most productive.  All odonate species are of interest, but species listed or watch-listed in MA are to be targeted.  Since one of the goals is to understand where odonates are breeding along the Millers, different life stages and kinds of observations will be coded according to the following list, much as for Breeding Bird Atlases:

1)  Sight record only, by experienced observers, allowed for certain species/sex combinations only.  The survey   coordinators, in consultation with NHESP staff, will decide who is an experienced observer and which species/sex combinations are allowable.  See appended list.

2)  Netted and released, by experienced observer.  Photographs taken by less-experienced observers and identifiable to species are also coded here.

3)  Adult collected, or identifiable photograph taken.  Note that to collect state-listed odonates, surveyors need a collecting permit from NHESP, which is easily obtained.  Members of the Athol Bird & Nature Club may collect under Dave Small’s permit, if their collecting is part of this survey.

4)  Oviposition observed, tandem pairs observed, exuviae or nymphs collected, or very recent tenerals (preferably associated with their exuvia).  Collection of exuviae from listed species does not require a permit from NHESP.

The surveyor should fill out one survey form for each hour spent surveying.  Thus, if two hours are spent surveying at one station consecutively, the surveyor should fill out two forms, one for each hour and keeping separate the observations from each hour.  This will allow the survey data to be analyzed statistically, to some extent. 

Observations (of any sort) of listed or watch-listed odonates from elsewhere on the Millers mainstem or its tributaries are of interest, as well, since they will help illuminate the extent of a species’ use of the river or its tributaries.  These observations can be submitted on a Millers River survey form to the survey coordinators, or on an NHESP rare species report form to the coordinators or the NHESP directly.  All data and specimens submitted to the survey coordinators will be deposited at NHESP.   Surveyors are not required to deposit their specimens with the coordinators, but are encouraged to do so.  The coordinators may ask for independent confirmation of identification of certain species.

 Survey Forms

These are more-or-less self-explanatory.  Surveyors are encouraged to tell the coordinators of any suggestions for making this, or any other document associated with this survey, easier to use and understand.  On the form, please use the station number and name as assigned by the coordinators.  All observers should be listed, with the person filling out the form listed first.  Temperature need not be precise, but please be as specific as possible.  For wind speed, please use the Beaufort scale numbers (appended), unless you have precise data from the site of observation.  Sky cover need only be described as sunny, partly cloudy, or overcast.  Surveyors may look for nymphs in the rain, if they are that obsessive, but not for adults or tenerals.  A light rain may be suitable for surveying for exuviae; use your own judgment.  For survey time, put the time of day (i.e., 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM , or 01500-1600).  Give an approximate percentage of your time spent looking for adults vs. exuviae vs. nymphs.  For more than one observer on a survey, combine the percentage to show the group effort.  Feel free to make notes on the back of the form.

For each species observed, note in the appropriate box the number of individuals found. “ U” stands for unknown sex.  The coordinators do not expect surveyors to deal with nymphal or exuvial damselflies, but if a surveyor feels capable of such, more power to you!   

As so little is known about odonates, surveyors are encouraged to note any details of behavior (such as oviposition sites, substrates where nymphs were found, methods used to find nymphs, type of prey, emergence sites and distance from water, etc.).  Such observations may greatly expand our knowledge of each species.

 See Progress of Stations Surveyed

 List of Station Names, Numbers, and Directions for Access

Station #

Station Name



Mineral Road

Mineral Road bridge, Erving/Montague


Rt. 2 Pull-off

Rt. 2 pull-off, Erving/Montague


Farley Bridge

[road name?] bridge, Erving/Montague


Erving Bridge

[road name?] bridge, Erving/Montague


Wendell Depot

Wendell Road bridge, Orange/Montague


West Orange Rail Bridge

Railroad bridge over Millers, accessible by Permission from Lyman gravel Pit or Bruce Wilson property , Orange


Downtown Orange

, just upstream of dam at Main St. , Orange


Anne’s Ice Cream

Field behind Anne’s Ice Cream restaurant, Rt. 2A, Orange


Athol Rail Bridge

Railroad bridge over Millers, accessible from South Athol Road, Athol


Tully Confluence

Millers south of Tully River confluence, accessible from MREC between [198 & 210 Canal Street] on east side, or from canoe launch site on North Orange Rd., on west side, Athol


Uptown Athol

High-tension line crossing of river, accessible from Crescent Street Extension, Athol


Little Round Top

Park at Bearsden Cabin on Bearsden Road and walk north through rock cut to river, Athol


Buckman Brook (I may have the name wrong)

Drive Gulf Road to river access road paralleling Gulf Brook.  Park at DFW river access at south end of road.  Walk north bank of river upstream from railroad bridge to halfway along western side of flat point of land.


South Royalston

Old bridge across from Pete and Henry’s Restaurant in South Royalston


Birch Hill

Site of former bridge, downstream of Birch Hill Dam, 


New Boston Road

New Boston Road bridge, west of Lake Denison


Hale Street

Hale St. bridge, Winchendon



Rt. 202 bridge, upstream of the village of Waterville , Winchendon


Glen allen Road

Glenallen Rd. bridge over Whitney Pond, Winchendon


Rt. 12

Rt. 12 bridge, just east of Ashburnham line, in Winchendon


Sherbert Road

Sherbert Rd. bridge, Ashburnham


Beaufort Scale for Wind Speed

 Report only the Beaufort number on the survey form. 
It can be difficult to survey adult odonates in a wind stronger than a gentle breeze.

Beaufort Number

Avg miles
per hour




Smoke rises vertically and the see is mirror smooth

(light air)


Smokes moves slightly with breeze and  shows direction of wind

(light breeze)

3.7 – 7.5

You can feel wind on your face and hear the leaves start to rustle

(gentle breeze)

8 – 12.5

Smoke will move horizontally and small branches start to sway. Wind extends a light flag

(moderate breeze)

13 – 18.6

Loose dust or sand on the ground will move and larger branches will sway, loose paper blows around, and fairly frequent whitecaps occur

(fresh breeze)

19.3 - 25

Surface waves form on water and small trees sway

(strong breeze)

25.5 - 31

Trees begin to bend with the force of the wind and causes whistling in telephone wires and some spray on the sea surface

(moderate gale)

32 - 38

large trees sway

(fresh gale)

39 - 46

twigs break from trees, and long streaks of foam appear on the ocean

(strong gale)

47 - 55

branches break from trees

(whole gale) 

56 - 64

trees are uprooted, and the sea takes on a white appearance


65 - 74

widespread damage

12 (hurricane)


structural damage on land and storm waves at sea


Species/Sex Combinations Identifiable by Sight Alone

Note:  this list is quite conservative and only notes those expected along the Millers;
many competent observers can ID many other species by sight alone. 
An X in a box indicates that a sight record for a species of that sex is acceptable.






Calopteryx aequabilis

River Jewelwing



Calopteryx maculata

Ebony Jewelwing



Hetaerina americana

American Rubyspot (WL)



Lestes congener

Spotted Spreadwing



Lestes disjunctus

Common Spreadwing



Lestes dryas

Emerald Spreadwing



Lestes forcipatus

Sweetflag Spreadwing



Lestes rectangularis

Slender Spreadwing



Lestes vigilax

Swamp Spreadwing



Argia apicalis

Blue-fronted Dancer (WL)



Argia fumipennis

Variable Dancer



Argia moesta

Powdered Dancer



Chromagrion conditum

Aurora Damsel



Enallagma civile

Familiar Bluet



Enallagma ebrium

Marsh Bluet



Enallagma exsulans

Stream Bluet



Enallagma hageni

Hagen 's Bluet



Enallagma vesperum

Vesper Bluet



Ischnura posita

Fragile Forktail



Ischnura verticalis

Eastern Forktail



Nehalennia gracilis

Sphagnum Sprite



Nehalennia irene

Sedge Sprite








Aeshna canadensis

Canada Darner



Aeshna constricta

Lance-tipped Darner



Aeshna interrupta

Variable Darner



Aeshna tuberculifera

Black-tipped Darner



Aeshna umbrosa

Shadow Darner



Aeshna verticalis

Green-striped Darner



Anax junius

Common Green Darner



Basiaeschna janata

Springtime Darner



Boyeria vinos

Fawn Darner



Nasiaeschna pentacantha

Cyrano Darner (WL)



Arigomphus villosipes

Unicorn Clubtail



Dromogomphus spinosus

Black-sh. Spinyleg



Gomphus adelphus

Moust’ed Clubtail (WL)



Gomphus borealis

Beaverpond Clubtail(SC)



Gomphus exilis

Lancet Clubtail



Gomphus lividus

Ashy Clubtail



Gomphus spicatus

Dusky Clubtail



Hagenius brevistylus




Lanthus parvulus

N. Pygmy Clubtail



Ophiogomphus aspersus

Brook Snaketail (SC)



Ophio. rupinsulensis

Rusty Snaketail (WL)



Stylogomphus albistylus

Least Clubtail



Stylurus scudderi

Zebra Clubtail (E)



Stylurus spiniceps

Arrow Clubtail (T)



Cordulegaster diastatops

Delta-sp. Spiketail



Cordulegaster maculata

Twin-sp. Spiketail



Didymops transversa

Stream Cruiser



Macromia illinoisensis

Illinois River Cruiser



Cordulia shurtleffi

American Emerald



Dorocordulia lepida

Petite Emerald



Dorocordulia libera

Racket-tailed Emerald



Epitheca canis

Beaverpond Baskettail



Epitheca cynosura

Common Baskettail



Epitheca princeps

Prince Baskettail



Epitheca spinigera

Spiny Baskettail



Helocordulia uhleri

Uhler's Sundragon



Neuro. yamaskanensis

Stygian Shadowdra. (SC)



Somatochlora tenebrosa

Clamp-tipped Emerald



Somatochlora walshii

Brush-tipped Emerald



Celithemis elisa

Calico Pennant



Celithemis eponina

Halloween Pennant



Celithemis martha

Martha's Pennant (WL)



Erythemis simplicicollis

Eastern Pondhawk



Leucorrhinia frigida

Frosted Whiteface



Leucorrhinia glacialis

Crimson-ring. Whiteface



Leucorrhinia hudsonica

Hudsonian Whiteface



Leucorrhinia intacta

Dot-tailed Whiteface



Leucorrhinia proxima

Red-waisted Whiteface



Libellula cyanea

Spangled Skimmer



Libellula incesta

Slaty Skimmer



Libellula julia

Chalk-fronted Skimmer



Libellula luctuosa

Widow Skimmer



Libellula lydia

Common Whitetail



Libellula pulchella

Twelve-spotted Skimmer



Libellula quadrimaculata

Four-spotted Skimmer



Nannothemis bella

Elfin Skimmer (WL)



Pachydiplax longipennis

Blue Dasher



Pantala flavescens

Wandering Glider



Pantala hymenaea

Spot-winged Glider



Perithemis tenera

Eastern Amberwing



Sympetrum red

Cherry or Ruby M’hawk



Sympetrum semicinctum

Band-w. Meadowhawk



Sympetrum vicinum

Yellow-l. Meadohawk