Gossamer Tapestry

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

Sunday, July 04, 2010

She Flies With Her Own Wings

L-R: Leon, Me, Rodger, Mark

Oregon! The fourth installment of the Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management workshop was hosted last week by the Oregon Zoo in Portland. Leon is originally from Oregon, so he decided to join me this time around. The plan was to have some fun together, then he would visit family while I did the workshop thing. After the workshop, we connected up again for a bit more fun before returning home.

The first part of the trip was particularly enjoyable because it involved meeting friends that I don't get to see nearly enough. Leon had never met Mark and Rodger before. I was eager to make the introduction as I knew that they would all click. Saturday involved a gross excess of food. We began with beer and enormous burgers, fries and onion rings. Delicious, though I felt guilty afterward. Opting to go with the guilt, we proceeded to a strawberry festival and ate strawberry shortcakes as big as our heads. They were billed as "smalls." We skipped dinner, but engaged in the fine Portland tradition of drinking wine and gossipping about bloggers.

In Forest Park

Sunday was a bit drippy, but that didn't stop the four of us from going for a walk in Forest Park with Mac. Forest Park is a very green place that seemed especially vibrant in the soft rain. The weather did nothing to help the bug watching, though we did see a cool black and yellow millipede.


It was very disappointing to leave Rodger and Mark after our walk, but we knew we would see them again before the end of the trip. Meanwhile we had arranged to meet Leon's college buddy Ron and his wife Sharol on the other side of the Cascade Mountains in the resort town of Sunriver. We had barely crossed the crest of the Cascades when we the emerging sun provided a vivid display of the rain shadow that the mountains create. Descending to the Deschutes River, we were even treated to some interesting insects, as I saw my first ever Cobalt Blue Milkweed Beetle on the river's banks. Equally impressive was the deep gorge of the Crooked River. We peered down the 300 foot cliffs that lined the river.

Crooked River

Sunriver is a on outdoor resort town. It's beautiful, but a bit too managed for my taste. On Monday we headed out with Ron for an adventure that included geology for Leon and entomology for me. The geology came at Fort Rock. It's not a fort, but the remains of a modest volcanic cone. It was a fine introduction to the high desert, and included lots of beautiful wildflowers. There were few insects there, but I did see a new lifer butterfly species- the Square-spotted Blue.

Fort Rock

Desert Monkeyflower (Mimulus sp.)

Square-spotted Blue (Euphilotes battoides)

We proceeded to Summer Lake. The lake has a very wide shoreline with lots of saline areas that result from evaporation of the lake water. It looked to be perfect tiger beetle habitat.

Summer Lake

We did not find many tiger beetles, and almost left without seeing any. Just before giving up, I noticed several large oval patches of mud ringed by salt deposits. These turned out to be the habitat for Williston's Tiger Beetle, another lifer for me.

Microhabitat of Cicindela willistoni

Williston's Tiger Beetle (Cicindela willistoni)

Tuesday brought more geology as we visited the Newbury Crater. It's part of a relatively recent eruption dating just 1300 years ago. Leon was fascinated by the bits of volcanic glass that crunched underfoot as we walked the Obsidian Trail. We also checked out the Lava Cast Forest. Hot lava flowed into a forest about 6,000 years ago, and left casts of both standing and fallen trees. It was amazing to realize that the lava had preserved a fairly detailed record of the trees in this ancient forest. I got another lifer insect here- the Ribbed Pine Borer, a longhorn beetle.

Leon on the Obsidian Trail

Cast of a Fallen Tree in Lava Cast Forest

Ribbed Pine Borer (Rhagium inquisitor)

A took quick goodbye to Ron and Sharol followed, and we returned to Portland to connect up with the IBCM participants.

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At 02:27, Blogger Ted C. MacRae said...

Spectacular geology in the area.

What subspecies of Cicindela willstoni would that be?

At 06:46, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Ted, it's C. willstoni echo

At 11:42, Blogger rodger said...

You neglected to mention the fantastic Camembert cheese a certain someone made himself...and hauled all the way to Portland. Delicioso!!

We loved having you two here, and meeting Leon, finally. Hope to see you this fall on your territory.

I still have pics to take off the camera so I can share them.

And...I love the Ribbed Pine Borer...great camouflage!

At 10:38, Blogger Jim said...

You guys were gossipping about me? Oh, about Homer. Whew! I was worried there for a moment, lol. Looks like you had an amazing trip. Sometimes I can't get over the diverse landscapes this country has to offer. And on this note...Happy belated 4th of July :)

At 22:51, Blogger Ur-spo said...

Lovely photos as usual - you sure get around.


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