15 May

The first site today is rice field that hasnít been planted yet. I collected all I could, and chased two species all over the place, finally we had to leave.

The second site was a very black ditch beside the road. Not many species flying, but I got all I saw. Then we relocated to the other side of the road to a better looking (and better yielding) "pond". Although it was small I got quite a few species, including the female that I had only picked up once before.

The last site of the day was a nice stream, but it was raining, so I was reticent to use the camera much, I got good specimens, including some exuviae. Lots of driving today.

 

16 May

Today was an adventure. We drove to the west into the mountains. One section of the road had this sign, possibly the coolest sign ever created by man.

And they werenít kidding either, here is a pile of evidence. It was undoubtedly left by a domesticated elephant taken for a walk.

We drove and drove and drove, ask the locals for directions and finally we came to a beautiful stream.

There was a little gomphid that was thick, I must have picked up ten before we left.

I got a lot of exuviae and, also got good pictures of these guys, which I believe are new to my collection.

This little guy is called a tortoise shell beetle (something like that). He was poking along, so I got his picture.

We continued on and went to a National Park. 200 Baut ($5) for Foreigners to get in, 50 Baut for Thais. The road into it is very poor, we went 4 wheel drive, 15 miles an hour all the way to the water fall.

The parking lot, of course, is full. Mercedes, Toyota Land Cruisers, even a tour bus (one of the double decker ones, with seating on top and luggage down below). No permit to collect, I went hunting with my camera. This is the best of many failed attempts to get a good picture. The camera lens was maybe 1.5 inches from the dragon when I took the picture!

We make it back to the car and head out to another spot, and what do we see, but a man walking his elephant. A passes him and pulls over so I can get some shots. The story is best told in the pictures below, but I shall narrate here. Upon exiting the vehicle, the elephant jogs over to me, extends his trunk for a smell hello. I give him pats keep clicking pictures. Soon bored with me he trots around the vehicle and continues to wander down the road, eating grass as he goes. The keeper and A are taking about the cost of a room at the park. They say their goodbys. The trainer yells a command, and just like a puppy, the elephant wheels around, and trots back to the keeper. Pats are exchanged and they head into the brush toward water. The elephant was a three year old.

Let me introduce to the Thai trash can real quick. I have seen these all over the country, from the biggest cities to the smallest villages, the richest neighborhoods, to the poorest slums. Made from pieces of used tires bolted together, these are virtually indestructible. With a lid they are trash cans. Without, they make wonderful planters. Thais are masters at recycling.

The last site of the day was another pond, I got a good damsel from there. We head into town, get on the internet (very slow). Iím on for an hour and only get the basics up. I need to manually change a line of code every time I insert a picture, and forgot to on a page. Have to leave to get clothes from cleaner and eat. Will fix page another day.

17 May

The first site today was a beautiful stream heading out of the mountains. Again, the road goes from good to bad to just a track only accessible to 4WD. And of course it ends at a fully equipped station. However, no one was home. So we quick started collecting. Big nice streams have lots of species and I start swiping. The bigger guys are hard to catch, and some of the smaller ones are darn near impossible. Slowly I collect more and more guys. I got some good exuviae, and a nice picture of these moths mating.

The hours tick by and some farmers come along. Iím down the stream and donít want to draw undue attention, so I drop my net low. And what do I see but this female laying eggs along the shore right in front of me! A swipe and she is mine, the only one I saw that day.

Just before we leave a male bird shoots across the stream. I only get a secondís look but its one of those with the tail feathers which are nearly as long as the rest of its body. Iíll have to look it up when I get a bird book. I collect all the species I see at the stream (an amazing accomplishment, I had at least 30-35 species). Happy day, we head for food and the next site.

The next site is a pond, red with mud. Its sprinkling, so I take few pictures. Not many flying, but A gets some good larvae (live, for me). I notice some antlion pits in the dust near the car, and low and behold, a swipe for a damselfly (which I got) also yields an antlion adult! I collect two total. Good site.

The last site of the day was another pond, this one better than the last. Some monks were placing flags by the road and stopped to watch what I was doing. By then I had collected nearly all the species Iíd seen at the pond, and was after an old male. Body of pale red, with red on the basal third of the wing, and a patch of white distal to that (same species as pictured on one of he previous pages). He was the only one, I must have swiped 20 times, and 20 times he flew around, without a care in the world. Well, he didnít learn, and I did. Picking my spot I waited, a fly by, a final flip and he was mine. Finally.

Want to see how pineapples are grown? These are too young, but in the fields with older growth there is a piece of newspaper lovingly wrapped around each fruit. Built like a cactus, I do not envy the farmers who must work with these plants. 

Back to prepare specimens, and sleep.