Brood XIII 2007 June 9th
News Category: Cicada Missions
Brood XIII 2007 June 9th
Well time is really getting on. I can't believe I have been away and out of work since May 30th studying Periodical Cicadas! If there was a way I could make money doing this, I'd surely give up the regular 9 - 5 job. I have learned so much and have met some really great people. The US Navy guys have been here for a little over a week and this apparently will be their last day. We continued on with the experiments however just to get the all-important data.
Huge and Loud Aggregation of M. cassini!
Around mid-afternoon John Cooley and I decided to go around gathering up more M. cassini for continued Navy experiments. We entered an area of Jubilee College State park that had tons of M. cassini all aggregating in a single tree that bordered a parking lot. The noise was very very loud! John suggested that when we get back to the "rickety old barn" where the Navy was conducting their experiments and see if I could get Derke and Richard to come and check it out.
When we got back to where the experiments were being conducted the noise here was also loud. I think today must be the peak of the emergence. Click the thumbnail to the right to listen to the chorus of M. cassini and M. septendecim right outside the barn where we were working. It was a bright and sunny day and in the low 80's.
Derke and Richard Check Out the M. cassini.
Its amazing that these two guys, who were here for about a week haven't really had much time to just appreciate the Brood XIII periodical cicada emergence. They have been stuck in that barn for most of the time so they really enjoyed the spectacle. Click the thumbnail above and to the left. Derke was asking questions about the aggregation of M. cassini.
Its also kind of funny that the navy guys were taking "safety first". They brought and were wearing these large sound suppressing head sets in order to protect their ears. The noise was very loud but I felt that they weren't needed but they were under "strict instructions" from their superiors to wear the gear and so they did.
Richard Covered in Cicadas
The question that Derke was asking while I shut the camera down was that he noticed that an M. cassini was trying to pierce him with its mouth parts known as a "beak". I told him that the cicada was just trying to feed on him. I indicated that cicadas were basically stupid and didn't know any better. I told him not to let the cicada try and feed on him because of the very slight risk of passing on pathogens. (Not that this has ever happened to me but it is better to be safe then sorry.) As an afterthought, I snapped the above photo of Richard with his headset around his neck. Check out the cicadas that were landing on him and check out that expression!! That's a real winner!!
Experiments Come to an End.
Around 5:00 pm the Navy guys started packing up. They had a plane to catch in the morning and were really happy with the data that they collected. They bought so much extra gear for this trip that they really didn't feel like taking it all back with them so they started to give away stuff. They gave me a really cool flashlight that stands on three legs and the head can be moved in different positions. They even gave me some extra batteries for it. To this day, I still use that flashlight and I think of them every time I use it.
The Navy Takes Us to Dinner
To show their continued appreciation, the Navy guys treated everyone involved with the experiments and UC Storrs out to dinner. We all had a really great time and we all had a lot of cool memories from this trip. Below is a thumbnail to a bigger picture of our entire group that was at Jubilee College State Park conducting experiments.
From Left to Right - Richard - U.S. Navy, Mike Neckermann,
Barbara (Grad Student), John Cooley, Kathy Hill, David Marshall,
Derke - U.S. Navy, Gerry Bunker
Off To Iowa for more Distribution Mapping.
Back at camp that night John asked what I was planning to do for the remainder of my time. I told him that I didn't have to be back at work till Tuesday (it was Saturday) but I wanted to get home by Monday evening in order to relax before work in the morning. He asked if I would be interested in going to Iowa to try to map the western edge of Brood XIII's emergence. I figured what the hey? So that's my plan to drive to Iowa in the morning which will be Sunday. This will give me about a day and a half of distribution mapping before I head home and back to reality.