I'm so depressed that the stucco tank is leaking way worse than the last time I filled it, which was terrible enough. I have to get it sealed. No other options. But it has to wait until it's empty, so can't happen in time to help me make it until next summer's rainy season. Hopefully, we'll get some more rain this year to help me make it through.
I don't know how you readers feel about collecting butterflies, but I'm OK with him taking a few. They only live 2 weeks anyway, and the place is packed with all kinds of insects for the birds. The birds don't care which species of butterfly they feast on, I'm sure. This photo was taken by Theresa Bayoud and is posted here with her permission.
With all the good rain this year there aren't many birds at the oasis. They disperse when food is abundant everywhere. Not many hummers either. Unfortunately, every time I drive to Alpine my vehicle kills butterflies. Here's something interesting I came across while researching collecting, if any of you are concerned.
Why are insect populations resilient to collecting?
Insects are very different from birds and other vertebrates in that they have short generation spans, they have a phenomenal capacity for reproduction, and their populations regularly number in the billions. Insects are so abundant that their numbers simply cannot be considered in the same terms as those of vertebrates. Think of the thousands of insects that a single songbird eats during its lifetime; while each species is important in the ecosystem, a given individual of each species do not have the same ecological importance. The vast majority of insect species are so abundant and prolific that an unexpected loss of hundreds, or even thousands of individuals from a relatively small area in a year results in no detectable decrease in numbers the following year. A mark-recapture study in Europe estimated that it would take several collectors three weeks of intensive collecting to extirpate a tiny, isolated population.
He visited once before over three years ago. No other lepidopterists have visited, so everything I know about butterflies I learned from him.