26 de julio de 2021

Phoenix Mountains Preserves

I made a 3 km loop north of North Mountain through upland Sonoran Desert scrub habitat. My main purpose was to survey for ants which in most every place are very active immediately after rain. Throughout the loop I found only 3 occurrences of Forelius, 2 of Solenopsis and no Myrmecocystus, Novomessor, Veromessor. Finally only one colony of Pogonomyrmex was found near an artificial water impoundment.

Publicado el 26 de julio de 2021 a las 12:53 AM por mjplagens mjplagens | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de septiembre de 2020

Patagonia Mts Aug 24, 2020

Sycamore Wash of the Patagonia Mountains in eastern Sta Cruz Cruz County, Arizona

The summer rains for 2020 have been very meager for most of Arizona. As a result vegetation is water stressed and all but the hardiest plants are without new growth and flowers. Wilted plants and very dry, dusty conditions left me wondering if I would find anything interesting.

Sycamore Wash supports oaks on higher ground and riparian trees in deep sandy alluvium. Annual Sunflower were blooming well and appeared to be the saviors for many insects, including pollinators. As it turned out that made it easier to find Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera.

For the day I tallied some very nice observations. As far as I can tell, the large, strikingly marked Bee-Fly, Bryodemina valida (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/58389295), has not previously been recorded from the United States. A corona of very long, colorful setae makes the abdomen appear very broad. I am awaiting a dipterist to confirm this record.

Publicado el 10 de septiembre de 2020 a las 06:45 PM por mjplagens mjplagens | 28 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

17 de diciembre de 2017

New Camera Nikon B700

Yesterday I tried out a new camera. I've been using a Nikon P510 for the past few years and have shot close to 19K photos and now it's coming apart. The B700 is likewise a point and shoot - the most important convenience to me is being able to switch at once from an insect subject 3mm long to a bird perched 50 meters away.

There are some new bells and whistles I need to learn, but the transition was easy without reference to the manual. My big disappointment is that Nikon took the GPS reader out and replaced it with Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities. To get GPS tagged into the photo data you must link to your smart phone with GPS. Not a great idea for me cuz when I am on the trail I usually turn off my phone to save battery. For me I would readily sacrifice the connectivity for in-unit GPS readings. Nikon: If you're listening why not put in a mini card slot so users can pick and choose the added features that they find most useful by swapping cards?

The zoom works very well and gives sharp photos of distant, wary organisms. The zoom has expanded ability for near subjects which should aid insect photography. The other big plus is the improved view finder.

Publicado el 17 de diciembre de 2017 a las 07:34 PM por mjplagens mjplagens | 10 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

12 de septiembre de 2017


I just returned from a four-day weekend in the Guaymas area of Sonora. Nacapule Canyon was the main focus, and I must say it was more amazing than I expected. I can hardly imagine a young R Felger so many years ago entering this oasis and deciding to document the flora. The diversity is overwhelming and the scenery spectacular. The temperatures were very hot (9 thru 12 Sept. 2017). I chose this window in part because a recent tropical storm visited the area with good rain, which I anticipated would bring out a lot of flowers and insects.
From Phoenix I took a very comfortable Mexican bus line departing at 8:30 p.m. I arrived in Guaymas the next morning at 6 a.m., not fully rested, but rested enough to begin my excursions by foot. I had booked a room in Guaymas not knowing how easy a ride to San Carlos was. Within Guaymas there are a number of tall rocky hills and with recent rains these were verdant with fresh vegetation. Along the roadways I found a number of widespread tropical weeds, plus a few native plants. Shorebirds were scarce. Aedes mosquitoes and no-see-ums (Culicoides) were enough to be unpleasant. Humpfrey's Grasshoppers were seemingly everywhere.

Publicado el 12 de septiembre de 2017 a las 07:56 PM por mjplagens mjplagens | 28 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario