Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Friday, August 08, 2008

Skywatch Friday - Rounding out the Conference

Sunset Over Tucson

I've been negligent in my blogging about the remainder of my trip to Arizona. On Tuesdaty of last week, the conference began. We arrived at Rio Rico around lunch time. John joined Nancy, who was co-presenting a workshop with him. They ran off to prepare. Vincent and I registered and headed out Ruby Road for some more collecting. We got a some nice aquatic insects for live displays at the Museum. I also found a really interesting grasshopper. It lived on bare rock, and the color pattern blended in beautifully. It's obvious that it relies on its camouflage, because it's very reluctant to fly. This made it easy to take specimens. More about this species later.

Lichen Grasshopper

Tuesday night, I went out blacklighting with Mark from St. Louis and Ken from Florida. A fun evening, and I got a nice photo of the impressive ichneumon wasp that showed up.

Ichneumon Wasp

Some people
have recently expressed concern about ichnuemons that they have encountered. Screaming like a girl has figured in the discussion. Here. let me put my hand right up next to this one as a size comparison.

Wednesday was field trip day. We went back put to the Santa Ritas looking at butterflies. I got nice pictures of an Empress Leilia (not to be confused with Princess Leia) butterfly. Once again this year, I couldn't believe how green the desert was. It looked like I was back east.

Empress Leilia

A very green desert near Box Canyon

Thurdsay was my talk, which went OK. I did an evening black lighting trip to Box Canyon. Mark's mercury vapor lamp pulled in HUGE numbers of moths and beetles. I don't think I've ever seen so much on the sheet at one time. Species diversity was not as good as the quantity would have led me to expect. Still a good time.

Very heavy visitation to the sheet. When the bugs are this thick, they are going down your shirt, in your ears and up your nose. Still, it's lots of fun.

Friday was time around the conference, talking to colleagues and listening to talks. I stayed up too late watching friends play Texas Hold 'em. Much fun. Saturday night, I went up to Tucson for dinner with Homer. That's where the sunset photo was taken. Homer is a great guy, we had lots of fun talking about many subjects. On his blog (where there's a photo of us taken just before the cops kicked us out of Signal Mountain Park), he claims that we were gossiping about other bloggers. I would NEVER gossip about other bloggers because gossip is the lowest form of human discourse. Bonus points to whoever can tell me what movie that line comes from.

French Joe Canyon

Not much was happening on Sunday, so John and I went out for more collecting and photography. We stopped by French Joe Canyon near Sierra Vista (Hi, Cobban) and saw arroyo grasshoppers. I was glad to see them, because they had vanished last year. Monday, alas, was time to depart. We had a bit of time to kill on the way to the airport, so we drove the length of Sahuarita Road (Hi, Kathie). Some of the desert there was blooming like it was springtime. John caught a species of metallic wood boring beetle that neither of us has seen before. We only found that one. I still don't want to talk about it.

April in August along Sahuarita road

Pleasing Fungus Beetle (Gibbifer californicus) photographed in San Rafael Valley

It was another great conference. It is always good to see friends and colleagues. Many of these people I only get to see at the conference. Plus they always spark new plans. I'll probably be visiting Seattle and Portland in September to view breeding facilities for the Oregon Silverspot butterfly. Too much fun!

Check out the rest of Skywatch.

Storm update: Things are back to normal. I was without power for a bit over 24 hours. The tree blocking my street took about 2 days to remove. Thanks to all who expressed concern. We're just fine.

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At 23:20, Blogger chrome3d said...

That rock grasshopper looked really rocky! Blue beetle, you have some good stuff here.

At 23:34, Anonymous Ted C. MacRae said...

Was that Mark Doering (sp?) from the Sachs Butterfly House?

Sorry to bring up that metallic wood boring beetle again, but you didn't get either the specimen or a picture? Dang!

At 00:32, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Doug, you have been everywhere! Gus and I considered going to the other Sycamore Canyon on sunday but chose Parker Canyon Lake area instead. How funny that you drove right by me again! Hello to you too! Just seeing that sheet all covered in bugs makes me want to giggle and scream all at the same time! I can't believe there were so many insects! I like that blue beetle you got a photo of. I'm glad you had a fun time here and I'm really glad you are safe there! I was wondering about you when I saw the bad storms on the news! BTW, Magnificent skywatch photo!

At 00:48, Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Dug..
Such a great posting this and I feel honoured Sky Watch was a part of it... those bug numbers are awful... but those roads are about perfect for my landrover..:O)

At 01:37, Blogger imac said...

Yucky bugs, but that sky is beautiful.

At 02:40, Blogger Digital Polaroids said...

Amazing bugs of all kinds!

At 08:00, Blogger H said...

If you're ever in PA we just have to get together for lunch and gossip! *L*

That sheet needs a good shot of bug spray, then you wouldn't have them down your shirt!

I kid...

At 08:43, Anonymous Luiz Ramos said...

Great shots. Thanks for share.

At 09:30, Blogger Kelly said...

I like the photos! The sunset is gorgeous in the first one and the bugs are amazing and the stories about them. Good job!

At 11:05, Blogger babooshka said...

Whata great and interesting collection. Great narrative too.

At 22:23, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Chrome- Thanks and welcome to the Tapestry.

Ted - Yes, that was Mark Deering of Sophia Sachs. He and I have been friends for a while now, he's an all-around great guy. John is John Watts, who has been hanging out on BugGuide identifying chrysomelid beetles for folks. The Buprestid looked likely to be an Acmaeodera. We had just gotten A. alicia. This one had lots more yellow on it. I'll try to get John to take a photo.

Kathie- Hahaha, on Sunday, John and I spent part of the day on the road to Parker Canyon Lake, though we opted to turn around and go to San Rafael Valley instead. Wouldn't it have been funny to run into each other again? I really wanted a photo of the blue beetle because the color fades in dead specimens. They turn an unexciting brown.

Wom Tigley- Thanks for stopping by. I really am enjoying your Skywatch project, and am glad that you enjoyed my post.

imac- I think that the bugs are also beautiful. I know, I'm weird that way.

h- Lunch and gossip would be much more fun with the Spomeister. Between the three of us, I'm not sure PA would ever be the same.

digital, luiz, kelly and babooshka-
Welcome ot the Tapestry. Thank you all for the kind words.

At 03:16, Blogger Berit said...

Great photos!!!!!

At 11:21, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

I am still breathing hard after reading this post. I will apply the same comment to every photograph:
"WOW. Great photo and description.

Very clever Princess Leia comment.
Very cool Lichen Grasshopper. A new one for me.
A lotta bugs on that sheet.
Let's hear about the metallic wood boring beetle.
Great Fungus Beetle.

Thanks for the visit, and we too love the Pacific Northwest.

Troy and Martha

At 06:51, Blogger nina said...

Beautiful sky!
I'm also looking through your pictures of blacklighting--looks like a lot of fun, and a lot of MOTHS!

Maybe I'll try it sometime soon.

At 08:10, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Looks like you had a great trip. Hope all is well on the home front.
The sirens went off twice here, but it was more "bark than bite"...we were lucky.

At 11:11, Blogger Doug Taron said...

berit - Thanks and welcome to the Tapestry.

Troy and Martha- Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed my pictures, because you guys set such a high photographic standard in the blogosphere.

nina- Hi and welcome to the Tapestry. I can't recommend blacklighting highly enough. It's tons of fun. I liked your blog, thanks for stopping by mine.

Dave- thanks for asking. We did not escape unscathed. My neighborhood lost many large trees and we were without power for over a day. Still, it could have been MUCH worse.

At 14:19, Blogger rodger said...

Yeah, yeah...so I screamed like a girl, but you have really small hands and you know what they say. (kidding, kidding!)

Nice Ichneumon wasp, at least your's wasn't crushed by a bat before you took the photo. I am a little disappointed that there were no insex pics this time around.

Nice post...loved the pics of the green desert. It actually looks inviting...and habitable.

So, if you make it here in September Mark and I will certainly find the time for a gossip session or two.

Oh...Jaqueline Bisset in Latter Days. When you live with an ex-Mormon you learn these things.

At 18:00, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Rodger wins!!! The quote is from Jacqueline Bisset in Latter Days.

I'm ignoring the rest of Rodger's comment. Especially the part about the hands.

At 23:13, Blogger Ur-spo said...

bugs down the shirt doesn't sound at all like ectasy but knowing you you were thrilled to pieces.
I am glad bugging was such a success!

At 11:50, Blogger T.R. said...

Those bugs are beautiful! Don't you have need for a volunteer to carry your suitcases and your equipment. Where do i sign up. You lead a very fascinating, amazing life. Your photography is fantastic!

At 14:11, Blogger Greg said...

Pleasing Fungus Beetle, indeed! I just love the color on that thing. It must play some role in its lifestyle, no?


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