A most unusual week indeed. One of the most unusual weeks of my life. The weather has been normal. Hot with storms. Tiger Beetles, Cicindela rufiventris and C. punctulata are everywere, C. sexguttata are still commonly seen. Treefrogs call daily, Cicadas sing from the trees, and lizards and toads are all over the place.
Monday (6-27-05), I left work at lunch. I had something to do. Something big. I have lived in lower Spartanburg County, way out in the country since 1983. But the time has come to make a change. The Holmes family has found a house in town. A house we all like, in a neighborhood we all like. We closed on the house today! Work must begin immediately! We must sell our existing home. (Anybody want to live on 25 acres of good Mole Kingsnake habitat?) We must do some minor remodeling and then patch/putty/paint this new house as we move in! MY MAJOR TIME-EATER IS HERE!!! I figure I will be quite busy for the next few-many months. This new house does have large back yard with room for a few sheets of tin, but not many. I will relocate most of my tin to new locations.
Tuesday (6-28-05), When I arrived at work I found 2 live female Stag Beetles, Lucanus elaphus, at work under the big light.
Wednesday (6-29-05), When I arrived at work I found a pair (male and female) of Stag Beetles, L. elaphus, at work and also some very pretty Ground Beetles, Calosoma scrutator, which are the largest and most colorful Ground Beetles around, and they smell HORRIBLE! The boys at work thought they were neat. After work, I pulled up the carpet in the hall of the new house and with work will have some nice hardwood restored to its full beauty.
Thursday (6-30-05), It was rather late in the evening, but I went to the airport. To pick up a visiting Entomologist. I have always appreciated those who have taken the time to show me around the natural world, and have also appreciated those who have welcomed me into their homes. So it comes naturally to me to do the same for others. I have hosted visitors from Canada, California, Pennsylvania, Ireland, and many other locations. This time my guest is Kenichi, and he is from Japan. We have corresponded for a while, mostly about Stag Beetles, and he wants to finally collect one by his own hand. So he comes here. His plane arrived (late) at Greenville-Spartanburg about 1:15 (Friday AM). We had waited several hours as he had some weather delays. We got home about 2:30 (Friday AM). It was well after that before I got to bed.
Friday (7-1-05), I had work as usual. Found a female Stag, under the big light at work. My wife kept our guest busy showing him around Laurens but she also took him to the waterfall so he could see some Tiger Beetles, Cicindela repanda. Finally it was time to come home. We took our new friend from Japan out to supper. BBQ at Henry's Smokehouse! Some of the best BBQ I know. At sundown we started hunting. We found many insects, Calosoma scrutator, Royal Walnut Moth, Longhorn Beetles, Scarabs and Carabids of many species. We even found a female Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus, but no live Stag Beetle. The heartbreak came with a dead Stag. A large male was crushed at one of our stops (we were visiting gas stations to hunt under the lights).
Saturday (7-2-05), The heat this week makes much day-time outdoor activity difficult. We did manage to visit a location with a lake and picnic tables. We had a large group of family and several canoes/kayaks. We swam, paddled, fished, and snacked heavily. My Japanese friend and I found a Redbelly Watersnake, Skinks, a Green Anole, Scorpions, a Green Treefrog, many emerging and adult Toads, a Box Turtle, several Tiger Beetles, Cicindela punctulata and C. rufiventris, as well as many interesting Ground Beetles. When evening came we had supper (American fast food at McDonalds!) and started the hunt. We visited five gas stations along 34 miles of interstate as well as three locations remote from the interstate. We found tons of stuff, including Tiger Beetles, Megacephala virginica, Bombarier Beetles, Click Beetles, and a super male Hercules Beetle. We even found another dead/dying Stag, but no live Stag Beetle, was to be seen.
Sunday (7-3-05), In celebration of Independence Day, we gathered to cook out/eat and visit at my in-laws for lunch. We also visited my sister briefly and hit the mall so Kenichi could buy some American souveniers, then it was time to get to business. With a good friend and my nephew , Hunter, Kenichi and I set out to find insects. Kenichi found a live female Giant Stag, Lucanus elaphus right away! We were all very happy with that, but we also found a huge male Hercules Beetle, and Tiger Beetles, Megachepahla virinica and M. carolina. They other, smaller stuff was just incidental. We had made it possible for our new friend Kenichi to collect the species that he had traveled so far to find.
Kenichi spoke little English when he arrived, but he quickly acquired a good use of the language and we got along very well and communicated pretty successfully.
What a week,