August 28

At 5 a.m. last Tuesday I got up to see the lunar eclipse.  Savannah got up with me.  Stacey had gotten home late, and skipped it.  It was a little disappointing.  The last time I remember seeing one was at the fairgrounds in Antioch, California, where we watched the whole thing happen during the races.  This time we just got up, saw the moon was red, took some photos, and went back to bed for a fitful hour of sleep. 
The moon as it appeared at 8:53 p.m., Aug 27.  In full eclipse at 5:12 a.m., Aug 28. 

Tuesday I had a couple of my classes out to catch monarchs.  It’s a little early in the season, but we did tag six of them.  Wednesday afternoon we caught grasshoppers again.  It wasn’t quite as hot.  I treated the students to ice cream afterwards, as promised, and all of them showed up for that.  I had book club that night after dinner at Lori’s.  There were a lot of people and it was quite fun. 

One of my FYE students caught a caterpillar crawling across the parking lot.  Once in a lab container, it produced this cocoon–very knobby, with spines and shiny spots.  It’s either a comma or a question mark.

This is the caterpillar that Nancy gave me.  It’s the achemon sphinx, as far as I can tell.  It’s eating grape and Virginia creeper leaves.

Thursday afternoon I drove up to Aurora, Illinois.  The Rock River had flooded into the fields up to a mile out.  They’ve gotten some rain.   I stayed with Vince, who left QU for a job there at the Illinois Math and Science Academy.  Friday morning I drove into downtown Chicago to work with Michael LaBarbera, a biomechanics professor at the University of Chicago.  Chuck had sent him a bunch of cicada killers, and we tested the buckling strength of their hind tibiae.  It was fun stuff.  His lab was well equipped.  He had some high-speed video of cicada killers and dragonflies that was pretty cool.  We were done at 3:30, so I headed out.  It was only about 50 miles back to Vince’s.  It took me two and a half hours, bumper-to-bumper all the way.  Vince and I had dinner at a neat sea food place.  Saturday we went to visit IMSA where he works.  It’s very nice.  We went to a produce market.  Aurora is not Wayne’s World anymore, it’s Juan’s World.  The market had all kinds of obscure Mexican fruits and vegetables (cactus pads!), including some I’d never heard of before.  I took advantage and bought some figs and Anaheim green peppers.  We got Mexican food at a little diner downtown.   I drove toward home via Iowa, and met Stacey and Bill Lloyd at the Hawkeye restaurant.  That was really good food. 

Sunday I drove out to the Wyaconda River to look for dragonflies.  I didn’t see any, but there was plenty of other stuff.  Then I went down to the riverfront in La Grange.  There were lots of butterflies puddling in the mud, and I picked up a bunch of driftwood. 
The grasshopper and spider were in the parking area.

Another pearl crescent and a hackberry butterfly.

The spider lies in wait on the end of a dead blossom.  The black swallowtail on clover.

The snout butterfly: a new species for me!  A variegated fritillary, and a far better pic than I’ve ever gotten of one before. 

A red-spotted purple.  Sometimes they feel like a nut. 

In the afternoon I went up to Shawn and Lorna’s to check out a pupa they had found.  There were a lot of butterflies around, including a monarch on a thistle flower.  I netted it so we could tag it.  I let Lorna apply the tag.  She was a little tenuous at first, afraid of harming the butterfly.  I said, “Lorna, you’re a doctor for Christ’s sake.”  She said, “Yes, I am, and for that reason.”  She put the tag on perfectly.  

A great spangled fritillary was also on a thistle.  Lorna’s horse was in the back yard.

At the Canton riverfront I found this rather large and cooperative question mark.  You can see the punctuation on its hindwing, if upside-down.

We went to a dinner party with some friends.  It was fun, and I pigged out. 

Monday morning I worked on manuscript revisions.  In the afternoon we all went to Quincy.  I stopped at my office to check on my pupae, then we went on to the mall.  We ran into Rick, and caught up on news for awhile.  I caught another two monarchs in the back yard.  Savannah helped me tag them.   I successfully turned Savannah on to figs as well. She’s a real Portagee now.

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