Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mothapalooza - registration is open!

A Rosy Maple Moth, Dryocampa rubicunda, glares menacingly at your narrator. Well, at least as menacingly as a pink and yellow critter can manage.

Last year, we launched the inaugural Mothapalooza, and it was an unmitigated success if I do say so myself. The idea was hatched by several of us while doing field work in the summer of 2012, and we fully expected to atttract a few dozen hardcore moth'ers to the conference. Well, were we ever surprised when we finally had to close registration after 140 people signed on. That conference was held at Shawnee State Park in Scioto County, and CLICK HERE for a recap.

By popular demand, Mothapalooza II was plotted and is now open for registration - CLICK HERE to enlist. The 2014 iteration will be held at the beautiful Burr Oak State Park Lodge in Morgan County, which was recently renovated and is stunning. I will warn you - get your tickets soon! We just opened the event for registration Tuesday, and already have at least 50 registrants and we can only accommodate about 120 people.

Mothapalooza boasts one of the oddest schedules you'll ever see. Moths, as you know, tend to be nocturnal, thus, so must we. We'll have light traps such as the one above sprinkled around the best habitats in the vicinity of Burr Oak Lodge, and you can be assured they'll lure all manner of odd creatures. Nocturnal trips depart around dusk, and depending on the moth action and energy of the group, might not return until after the bars close. That's why the following day's festivities won't commence until well after the sun rises. Unless you're one of the hardy ones that goes on my early morning bird walk. Did I mention that Burr Oak and vicinity is also a treasure trove of avian diversity? Well, someone has to eat all of those tasty moth caterpillars!

Dr. David Wagner (kneeling, center) was a star of Mothapalooza I, and he'll be back for II. Dave wrote the now legendary guide Caterpillars of Eastern North America, and is a moth'er's moth'er. He's a blast in the field, as demonstrated in this photo, where he has the entire group enraptured over some small bug. We're fortunate to have a great many experts lend their talents, and all trips and mothing stations will be manned by topnotch guides. That's Mary Ann Barnett on the far left, who has essentially served as Mothapalooza's CEO both last year and this, and John Howard to her right (hands on hips). John is the consummate naturalist and one of our many great guides. This year, a number of very talented and cool people stepped forth to make Mothapalooza a reality, and you'll meet them all if you make the scene.

In addition to the nocturnal forays, we'll have daytime excursions, and a number of special field trips and workshops. Get the complete agenda RIGHT HERE.

Not all moths shun the sun. This interesting Hummingbird Clearwing moth, Hemaris thysbe, is one of the species that we should encounter on daytime trips. The botanical diversity in Burr Oak State Park and the nearby Wayne National Forest is fantastic, which allows for fabulous moth diversity. Butterflies, too, and we should find lots of the latter.

Your narrator standing beside the van that we used for the rather bizarrely named Giant Moth-eating Bird Wilderness Adventure! What a great field trip that was. We plumbed the depths of the nighttime forest in search of a moth's worst enemy, the Eastern Whip-poor-will. We found plenty, as well as other strange stuff of the night. We'll be doing something similar at Mothapalooza II.

The giant silk moths are always crowd-pleasers. This huge Imperial Moth, Eacles imperialis, graces the hand of Dave Wagner. We had many of these blotchy purple and yellow dead maple leaf mimics at Mothapalooza I, and expect to see them and many others of their ilk at II.

Sign on soon, and pass the word. Mothapalooza II will surely be another memorable event full of fun and learning. Registration is just a CLICK AWAY.

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1 comment:

Nichole said...

Mothapalooza sounds like possibly the best days of my life!