May update #2 - From Colorado

Since my last post, the weather has been a roller coaster ride.  It can be snowing in the morning, the snow melting and sky clearing up by mid-day, but then back to snowing in the afternoon.

Anyways, while it is snowing really hard outside right now, I have entered the data I collected yesterday, sorted my photos taken the past few days, and then decided to write this post.

May 9th

My labmate was examining cocoons and saw these spirally frass inside a cocoon.  Based on the orange colour, we suspect it is one of the composite-specialist bees - either Osmia montana or O. coloradensis.

May 10th

Where do you know requires carrying an electric space heater to work in the morning?

Our frigid cabin.

Snowing in Gothic
What Gothic looked like when lightly-blanketed by snow.

But by the afternoon, the sky cleared and the snow melted.  I decided to go out and locate a site with Mertensia fusiformis plants to begin my field season.

Flowering M. fusiformis.

Other plants flowering at the same time as M. fusiformis.

Mountain parsley (Cymopterus lemmonii)

Sagebrush buttercup (Ranunculus glaberrimus)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

My study site at Gothic.

May 11th

We tried to drive to Kebler Pass to check out what the snow condition was like over there, and this was what we saw.  Guess I am not doing any work here any time soon.

Kebler Pass
The road was plowed towards Irwin, but not towards Kebler Pass.  This is what the place needs to look like (from June 5th, 2014) before I can work here.

Kebler Pass
A winter wonderland.

Another reason we went to Kebler Pass was to repair some of the bee nest boxes set up around a clearing.

We don't think the bees/wasps are emerging from this site any time soon.

In the afternoon, I returned to my study site at Gothic and began my floral orientation experiment.

While manipulating the orientation of my plants, I saw this Andrena sp. hanging around a M. fusiformis.

Flying Andrena

Flying Andrena
Maybe it was just searching for a nest site.

Poor photo of a Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti).

Bombus bifarius visiting Mertensia fusiformis
Bombus bifarius visiting M. fusiformis.

Unknown ladybug (Hippodamia sp.) visiting Spring beauty (Claytonia lanceolata)
Unknown ladybug (Hippodamia sp.) visiting Spring beauty (Claytonia lanceolata).

Spring beauty (Claytonia lanceolata)

May 12th

A Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) perched above me while I was working.

B. bifarius (also commonly known as the Black-notched Bumble bee) exiting from a potential nest site.
Flowering M. fusiformis.

Bombus californicus visiting Mertensia fusiformis
B. californicus visiting M. fusiformis.

Flying Bombus californicus visiting Mertensia fusiformis
Got this lucky shot of the B. californicus leaving the flowers.

Formica obtusopilosa
Formica obtusopilosa moving their colony.  I saw many workers carrying a nestmate in a typical carrying posture (not shown here).

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)

Dark-eyed Junco foraging on the ground.

Gunnison National Forest
Dark clouds over South Gothic and Mt. Crested Butte.  Looks almost like the same view from last year.

Gunnison National Forest
I was trying to photograph all the different colours I can see - blue sky, white clouds and snow, dark green trees, grey mountain and trees, green field, and orange-tipped willow.

Gunnison National Forest
Trying out the HDR function on my camera.

Mt. Gothic
This was a very intense-looking HDR view of Gothic Mountain.

May 13th

A tiny grasshopper resting on my notebook.

Northern rock jasmine (Androsace septentrionalis)

M. fusiformis flowers filled with rainwater.  Some of the variables I am measuring in my floral orientation experiment are flower and ambient temperature and water volume inside flowers.  For example, the flower pointing directly at you had a floral temperature (at the base of the anthers) of 11.6 degrees Celsius while the ambient temperature was 10.6 degrees Celsius.  The water volume inside that particular flower was 21 microliters.

May 14th

Went to Gunnison in the afternoon to buy groceries.  Here are some photos along the way.



On the way to Crested Butte

On the way to Crested Butte

Mt. Crested Butte


Red cabin

May 15th

Couldn't do any work today because it was snowing on and off for most of the day.

Mt. Gothic
Here was a view of Gothic Mountain in the morning.  Larger image here.

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