MOTHING* in Panama

I don’t normally upload images in the middle of the night and I’m certainly not in the habit of journaling at this hour either. However, this is a special occasion.

Although I have spent many happy, sleepy hours mothing in various localities, I wasn’t prepared for this. Tonight is my first night of mothing while on vacation near Boquete, Chiriquí, Panama. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew virtually everything I encountered would be new to me and I hoped to see a few jazzy tropical moths or other insects.

We had arrived in Panama on the afternoon of December 11 and it had rained almost continually through that night and through the 12th of December. Wednesday the 13th dawned partly cloudy and windy. Over the course of the day, it was mostly sunny with some heavy misty clouds just spilling over the mountains to the north before they dissipated—a beautiful day all-in-all. The wind unexpectedly picked up as the sun went down about 6 p.m. just as I got busy trying to set up a mothing station. The only convenient segment of an outer wall, e.g. near an outside outlet for my small UV light, was barely 4 ft wide, so I had to fold my white moth sheet in half and use most of a roll of masking tape to get it secured against the wall, all in 25 knot winds. Nonetheless, a few small moths were already showing up by 7 p.m. as dark descended so I knew I’d at least have something to photograph.

Thereafter, I spent the next 4 hrs until about 11 p.m. documenting 25 to 30 interesting and diverse species of moths and a handful of other insects. I went to bed to get a little sleep with the intention of arising every few hours to recheck the sheet. Barely an hour later, my wife nudged me and said, “You’ve got to wake up and come out to the moth sheet!” She wouldn’t tell me what awaited. She was smiling broadly, which in itself was quite unexpected because she had spent the latter half of the day suffering through a mild case of "mal estomago".

I was pretty groggy so she walked me out to the moth sheet and, without pointing, prompted me, “What do you see?” I had focused on the ground level of the sheet and there certainly were a few more new, interesting, medium-sized moths that had shown up. “Look higher!” That’s when the scene became surreal.

I saw what she saw; it took my breath away.

I’m not even going to tell you what we encountered. You’ll have to see the corresponding upload to iNat. Suffice it to say, if I never photograph another moth the rest of our 3 weeks of vacation, it will all have been worth it. If I don’t see a Quetzal or even lay eyes on a single iota of cloud forest, it will all have been worth it; one iNat observation that will have made this entire Panamanian adventure worthwhile, no matter what else happens. And we’ve only been here a couple of days.



* I hope you’ll forgive me for “shouting” with all caps in the header for this journal entry. You’ll understand why.


由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2017年12月14日 07:56 所貼文


Consider my curiosity piqued! Coincidentally I've been working my way through some of the Godzilla movies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Next in my queue is Godzilla vs. Mothra. I'll be thinking of you and your Panama mothing while watching it. :-)

發佈由 billdodd 超過 6 年 前

Most definitely looking forward to such an inviting and mysterious prize observation! All the best...enjoy your holidays!

發佈由 aguilita 超過 6 年 前

Read this journal entry with a smile on my face, Chuck. :)

發佈由 sambiology 超過 6 年 前

I love everything about this. Congratulations Chuck!!!

發佈由 nanofishology 超過 6 年 前

Like reading a mystery novel!

發佈由 connlindajo 超過 6 年 前

So much fun!

發佈由 susanhewitt 超過 4 年 前


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