Saturday, January 21, 2006

Biggest Bug Safari Ever

I will happily run around the arboretum, looking for bugs with the kids, at any time. Even so, I have mentioned more than once to the people who make the arboretum schedules, that there are a lot more bugs to see in the summer and early fall, and less in the winter. But in their infinite wisdom, they have scheduled 3 for this winter. And today, owing in part to the recent publicity, we had a record attendance. Upwards of 30 kids. Cub scouts, some repeat customers from previous safaris, and a bunch more who had just heard about us. And most kids had at least one adult tagging along. It made for a a crowd of almost unmanageable size.

There were nowhere near enough nets. The kids had to take turns with them. This was compounded by the fact that there were not a whole lot of flying things to catch. (They did catch a couple monarch butterflies, though.) We found stuff that did not require nets, like the last few monarch caterpillars, and a conveniently exploding population of box-elder bugs, but a few children were still bummed that they didn't get enough time to catch anything with the nets.

I tried to make up for the lack of large insects by bringing the trusty stickbugs, and an awesome Jerusalem cricket. I also rustled up a few Gulf Fritillary caterpillers from the far back fence. They made for a nice display, and I'm just hoping everyone had a chance to look at them.
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