Monday, February 24, 2014

Long time, no posts.

      It has been a long, long time since my last post here on Shield-winged. It has been over four months, in fact. Weekly posts have certainly been hard to keep up with this winter, as I find myself with less of the 'post food' this blog tends to run on. Despite the lack of writing, my insect collection has received very special attention over the winter months. I, for the first time in three years (most of my time spent collecting), have managed to mount or packet preserve all specimens in my possession. This task requiring dozens of hours of mentally exhausting work has indefinitely been out of the lack of field time, but was carried out to completion in preparation for a trip to western Panama. Sam Wells, his friend Steve, and I are taking a week-long trip to this southernmost Central American country the second week in March, and I presumably will be posting more frequently on this blog with a new array of photographs and entomostories to share from this trip. As it currently stands, the week I return I will also be moving from Fresno, California to Orem, Utah to attend Utah Valley University. Besides education, I will be within driving distance of my eldest sister and brother-in-law's newborn, Haily, making me an uncle-to-be.

Along with my lack of fresh writing inspiration, here are some of the few highlights from this very dry season's field work (Sadly, the computer has been trouble lately and I haven't been able to access the original photo-editing program I have used to crop most bug photos previous to this post):

A very hairy Dune beetle, (Coelus sp.) at Guadalupe-Nipomo Sand Dunes, Monterey County, Coastal California.
September 2013

 Another, very camera-shy dune beetle. Bad hair day maybe?

The coastal Guadalupe-Nipomo Sand Dunes just before sundown.

 A lucky find was this bombardier beetle (Brachinus sp.) at Bluff Creek, Humboldt County, northwestern California

 Habitat along Bluff Creek where this Brachinus, and a surprising number of
other winter-active ground beetles were found.

 These Oregon Alligator Lizards (Elgaria multicarinata scincicauda) I had inadvertently disturbed overwintering underneath a log while I was looking for ground beetles. Despite feeling bad for interrupting these critters, finding these wary lizards in January played an important factor in photographing them at such close range. I had no success attempting photographing this species last June when I hiked through a population in the coastal mountain range.

Similar habitat near where the Alligator Lizards were found at Bluff Creek in January, 2014