While I’m not sure that yesterday was the hottest day on record (in fact, the mercury showed it to be in the high 80s, not really “all that bad”), it sure felt like it. Sweat rolled down the small of my back as I went through my daily rounds at Fern Forest. I suspect, as challenged conversationalists throughout the country can attest, that it’s not the heat. It’s the humidity.
But we naturalists are a hardy breed. We laugh at danger, endure discomfort, and generally just don’t do what sensible people should. As they said in colonial India, only mad dogs and Englishmen are out in the noonday sun.And why do we do it?
For some, it’s the promise of new discovery. These people are obsessive by nature, and they have a deep understanding of their subject. They can identify, in the field, hundreds of different species of closely related insects. I am not one of them. (I rarely can identify more than 4 or 5 species of dragonfly without waiting for the photo evidence, to compare painstakingly to my Dunkle.)
For others, it’s the challenge of completing a project. They have actual work to do, things to investigate. Transects to survey, mist nets to check. I am not one of those. Naturalizing is a hobby for me, not a vocation.
For me, it’s the hope of seeing something they haven’t seen before. Yesterday, I found a few ponds that I hadn’t seen before, with a few dragonflies that I knew (comet skimmer, four-spotted pennant, etc.).
On earlier perambulations, I have in fact seen a few things I hadn’t seen before:
And by the way, Eric seems to have yet more teeth coming in.