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Pagan: 10 July 2010

August 6, 2010

Did some sorting in the morning, and then hiked one of the megapode transects (transect 1) that skirted the base of what the map called the “Miari Cliff.”  We began on the airfield and headed Southeast toward the lavaflow.  While traversing the airfield we stopped to get the obligatory photo of the old Japanese zero surrounded by bomb craters.  Along the way we also collected whatever insects we happened upon. There appeared to be a couple of grasshopper species that were very common.  There was one species of plant that was doing noticeably well in the grassy field – Curt had told us about this plant earlier – evidently it is an ornamental plant that was introduced to the island at some point, and it is unpalatable to the cows and goats.  There didn’t seem to be any insects on it either.  Since we got a late start, it was extremely hot out in the open sun.  There were a few concrete bunkers in the old airfield as well, and Mike poked around in a few of them. I don’t think he found much, but he did say it was quite cool inside.  At another point we stopped and collected inside one of the larger bomb craters that had a clump of trees growing in it.  I got a couple of species of ants and a few other things that were not very interesting – not sure what the other guys managed to catch. 

Old airfield with Miari Cliff in background.

Lava Flow at end of airfield.Looking back to the West on transect #1.

End of transect #1.

We finally made it to the base of the cliff where there was thin strand of partly native forest.  I believe on our labels we called this “mixed forest” since there was both native and non-native vegetation.  There were a lot of butterflies along trail in this area – Papilio polytes, Hypolimnas bolina, Euploea eunice, and Melanitis leda.  There was aslo a large skipper in the forest that was flitting about – I think we managed to get at least one of these guys.  I got a few lacewings in this area also.  We stopped at various locations along this trail and collected until finally we reached the end of the cliff.  Once the cliff flattened out, we could see the east side of the island, it was pretty cool. We stopped here for rest and had a snack while enjoying the view.  There was an even better looking patch of native forest heading due east from this point, I believe this was Megapode transect #2, however at this point it was getting later in the afternoon so we had to head back to camp (we had scheduled a trip up to the freshwater lake at about 3:00).

We had a very short respite and just a little time to get our stuff together before we had to leave for the freshwater lake.  The freshwater lake was quite a bit further than the saltwater lake, so we were taken up there on ATVs.  Mike was on the back of a red ATV driven by Jess, and Stephan, Christa, Justin and I were all on a larger ATV (one person in the passenger seat and three sitting on a cooler in the back).  It felt great to have a ride and give our legs a rest after our death march earlier that morning.  We were dropped off at the head of the lake trail and had only a couple of hours before we had to be picked up.  The freshwater lake is kind of in a large crater-like area, so we had to hike up and then down into a bowl shaped basin where the lake was.  There was a lot wind coming off the lake once we hiked up to the rim of the bowl and it felt awesome. Once we got down there we really just had time to set up our traps and do only a little collecting before we had to turn around and get back to the trail head for our pick-up.  The lake was really cool – there seemed to be a lot insects near the shore.  There at least one species of damselfly, one species of dragonfly, and a lot of other flying insects.  I was mostly working on getting all the traps set up, but Mike and Stephan managed to also find some subterranean termites in a fallen log.  The hike out of the bowl was not very fun to say the least, but we made it out and got back to our pick-up site a little early.  When the guys on the ATVs showed up, they had brought some beverages with them in a cooler, and they wanted to hang out a bit and do some drinking before driving back to camp.  This took us by surprise – we were all just anxious to get back to camp and have some dinner and call it a day.  Nevertheless, we hung out with the guys for a bit and drank with them.  They brought one Coke, so I shared it with Christa and Stephan.  All of the rest was beer, or, as they called it on Pagan, “painkillers.”  I think they were a little disappointed that 3 out of 5 us didn’t drink and that there were extra beers, but what can you do? After a little chit-chat and painkilling, we loaded up the ATVs and headed back to camp. 

Jess and Mike lead the way.

Mike looking slightly uncomfortable.

Heading back to camp during sunset.

Freshwater Lake (Lake Sanhalom).

Malaise trap on freshwater lake.

The ride back was beautiful, particularly when we drove across the black sand beach by the saltwater lake as the sun was going down.  The only bad thing was that the ATVs didn’t go fast enough to outrun the flies so there was constantly a little cloud of flies around us.  When we arrived at camp, our driver dropped us off at the ento tent, but Mike was not so fortunate.  Jess took Mike on wild ride to chase cattle off of the runway.  They were speeding around after cows with an air horn blaring for what seemed like 20 minutes.  When Mike returned he looked exhausted.  I did not envy him.  That night we did a little more sorting, and we had planned to run the blacklight in camp again, but our battery was not properly charged so we just went to bed.

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