Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

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Chuck
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Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by Chuck »

Every year, usually in late August, I tell myself I'll make it to Pena Blanca AZ for the monsoons "next year."

This has been going on for years.

Wish there was a way to make it happen. To plan early, block out the time, and GO.

It would probably help if we had a whole crew- rent a motorhome, rent a few generators, and meet in Tucson.

What's the chance of a bunch of us meeting up there in 2024?
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by MikeH »

I'd be game for something, might be wiser to vrbo or something with ac and a freezer instead of an rv.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by jhyatt »

Chuck,

Been there, done that. Many years ago a group of 4 or 5 of us spent a long week collecting all over SE AZ during that period. Two drove out in a van with the generator, light traps, batteries, bait, etc; the rest of us flew to Phoenix and rented cars. We stayed in motels some, and rented a cabin for a couple of nights. It was a great trip, collecting was fine (butterflies as well as moths), and heat was just not a problem. Go for it!

That said, some of the best collecting was on the army's Fort Huachuca property, and I'm not sure that one can get permission to collect there post-9/11. Pena Blanca was very good (only time I ever saw a 3-gallon bucket trap filled nearly to the top with moths), but there were many other great spots.

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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by vabrou »

The heat and humidity in Louisiana is atrocious (usually around 100% day and night). I would usually have (4) box fans plugged inside of my tent. One year I even placed a small 110 volt electric window ac in my tent out in the field. But one must modify the water drain by connecting to a long tube exiting 10-20' away from tent. The AC along with a $20.00 box fan makes one want to stay in the tent. On collecting field trips during winter months I used two electric oil-filled heaters in my tent.

A real nice field collecting experience was access to an air conditioned/heated field cabin we recently used over 2 1/2 years in north Louisiana operating hundreds of traps. Only drawback was the 700 mile round trip to drive to that cabin. 2 jpgs. Drawer 3 of 4 on 1 light trap and drawer 1 of 4 same light trap collection chamber.

And people don't believe me when I tell them I once captured here at my home 124 million specimens (volume-wise that is about five 5-gallon buckets filled to overflowing). Pounds upon pounds of coleoptera. And I did not bother attempting to count all the millions of specimens on the ground and vegetation surrounding the areas of the 180 traps I was running.
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Chuck
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by Chuck »

John, does that mean you'd go in 2024?

Mike, you might be on to something. At such advanced ages, maybe a B&B would be more comfortable. When I was there we tented it right at Pena Blanca. I don't mind the heat, but others might. Direct A/C with no need for a generator would be a plus.

That said, where? I've read of "my sister's place in Madiera Canyon" and such, but other than Pena Blanca proper, I'd not know where to go for MV collecting.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by jhyatt »

Chuck,

No, don't think I'd go in 2024. Got too many other places to hit, rather than return to one I've seen before. Thanks anyway!
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by evra »

What are you looking to collect? Arizona is a big place with a lot of different species of insects.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by Chuck »

evra wrote: Mon Oct 02, 2023 2:54 pm What are you looking to collect? Arizona is a big place with a lot of different species of insects.
Since I've been to Pena Blanca but once, it's a novelty. I like the MV moths and beetles, as well as the daytime butterfly collecting. For that area I'm not particular to any specific butterflies, with the exception of Papilio multicaudata.

I've done other areas of Arizona, and at different times; I was on Huachuca. What I'm really interested in is experiencing the monsoons again. I'm sure others would be as well.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by 58chevy »

There are lots of houses for rent in the Tucson area, which is convenient to most of the major collecting spots. Many people live there during the winter and rent their houses out for the summer. I was lucky in 2019 to find one that was owned by the girlfriend of a friend. 3 of us collectors stayed for a week. All we had to pay was the utility bill, which was $80. If you google houses for rent in Tucson or surrounding areas, you might be able to find a good deal (but probably not as good as the deal I got).
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by Chuck »

I should add, it would be fun and interesting to get a bunch of us together. The virtual world is fine, but kinda disappointing.

Besides which, in all these years in the field I have but ONCE run into another collector.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by evra »

Yeah there are lots of places to collect besides Pena Blanca and Madera Canyons. In recent years collecting in Madera has been kind of problematic because some USFS rangers have been kicking people out around 10 PM. I honestly haven’t even tried those 2 spots in at least 10 years because I prefer to collect in more isolated locations. Also Pena Blanca has burned at least twice in the past 15 years and kind of recovered both times.

There are other things to get elsewhere outside of the monsoons at other spots around the state as well. Things like Dynastes granti, various Hemileucas, etc. Unfortunately you can’t get it all in just 1 trip.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by mswisher »

Chuck,
I typically rent a VRBO house every year and have hosted other collectors in previous years. Happy to help out with your planning or you could join our small group. I prefer staying in the Sonoita/Patagonia area where there are multiple houses available for short term rental and often they are located in habitat already (at least you can set out traps that will be full in the morning after a night collecting somewhere else). We normally do about 4 or 5 nights in late July.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by livingplanet3 »

In case it's of interest to anyone here:

Because of the area's very high biodiversity, one of my colleagues moved to southeastern AZ a few years ago and set up a service centered on the region's insects and collecting. It's a package deal in which he handles all the transportation to various collecting sites, guesthouse lodging, and collecting equipment such as lighting set-ups, generators, etc. The operation is based at a large rural property near Sonoita, elevation 5000 ft.

Details at - https://bugsincyberspace.com/product/sk ... dventures/

If I myself was wanting to go to some good insect collecting spots in southern AZ in the most hassle-free way possible, the above is definitely how I would do it. And, not just because I've known this person for a decade, but also because it would eliminate essentially all of the logistical issues for me, and I could just focus on finding insects without worrying about the various other aspects (transportation to sites, lodging, food, equipment) of such a trip, since that's all taken care of.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by Chuck »

Thanks for all the input thus far.

mswisher, I didn't know you do this every year! Livingplanet, there is something to packaged deals- avoid the wasted time of finding the right habitat, but wow that's expensive. evra I'd not heard of problems with USFS at Madiera, but I've not been there in a long time.

Perhaps I'm just old, but the idea of having a dwelling with A/C power, as opposed to tent and generator, seems to make some sense.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by mswisher »

Unfortunately work got in the way this year, but I did it for the previous 8 years in a row (I live in the Phoenix area, so it is a short drive for me). Even after all those trips, I still get at least one or two dozen new species every year, so it is worth it every time.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by papiliotheona »

Chuck,

Where are you, and how would you be traveling to AZ?

I agree with everyone who says that there is just too much to get in SE AZ to get it all in one year--even if you lived there. It will take many years if not decades to get everything in AZ, especially as a non-resident. Different things are timed differently in the summer.

If you were to pick one date that *on average* has the most stuff out, I would say somewhere between July 20 and 30, depending on year...
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by Chuck »

I'd fly in AZ, probably Tucson.

I don't intend to catch everything in AZ, just to experience the monsoon MV activity again.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by evra »

Not to be negative, but it’s been pretty bad for several years. I’d say that 2019 was the last average year of monsoon collecting. I doubt 2024 will be great because we are experiencing El Nino conditions, which means wet winters and dry summers. So I bet it will be kind of dry and crappy. La Nina is the opposite, dry winters and wet summers and generally what you want.

On the other hand, if you are in to collecting little endemic Noctuids in the sand dunes of western AZ and SE CA, I bet this coming winter around February or March will be good.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by papiliotheona »

Evra,

The monsoons of 2021 and 2022 were fantastic, near-record. The monsoon of 2020 was a near-record for being awful, and 2023's, while not the worst, took place in a record summer heat situation, so what rain did fall had no chance to take hold.

Winter of 2022-23 was great for both AZ and CA, but in the former state, a severe heat wave and mediocre monsoon negated any good it did.
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Re: Every year I say I'm going to AZ "next year"

Post by FOXXDOC »

AS I HAVE MENTIONED BEFORE' BUGS IN HYPERSPACE' HAVE SOME NICE VIDEOS ON YOU TUBE. THEY TAKE GROUPS AND HANDLE ALL .

ITS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I,VE BEEN ON A TRIP WHERE EVERYTHING WAS ORGANIZED BY SOMEONE ELSE.


TOM
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