Cut Off, LA - 4/24/02

Mark Walker MWalker at
Thu Apr 25 15:46:14 EDT 2002

On my way out of Louisiana, I decided to wait for my airplane by standing in
the swamp.  I took highway 90 southwest to highway 1, and headed south
towards Grand Isle.  There is a lot more commerce down in this southern part
of the state then I expected.  Mostly supported by river hauling and local
fishing (and it's pretty unanimous down there - No Unions!).  At Cut Off (an
aptly named town equipped with a by-passing highway junction), I needed to
wait an hour or so for a conference call that required access to a land line
(lest I lose cell coverage in the middle of the critical conversation).  Not
wanting to trust the phone booths any farther south, I drove west into a
thickly wooded area and popped out for a sweaty look around.  Well, first I
needed to change out of my business attire - which is something I've really
got to stop doing on the side of busy country roads.  I'm likely to get
arrested for indecent exposure, which could carry some cruel and unusual
punishment for strangers in unfamiliar places.
Still lots of dragonflies, and still virtually no sign of leps - other than
an occasional Checkered Skippers (this is another one of those bugs whose
visual identification even with a voucher has become next to impossible).
I'm going to suggest, based on the white sheen present on the ups, that
these were Pyrgus albescens.  I kept one, but with my backlog of papered
leps we'll probably never know.  While driving back into town I managed to
smack senseless a jayflying Polygonia interrogationis (Question Mark).  I
whipped a "U"ie and flew out of the car to pick it up before the onslaught
of oncoming traffic arrived.  It was stunning (and beyond stunned, with
compound x's where the eyes should be), possessing the rich dark dorsal
hindwing typical of the summer form I've frequently encountered farther
After the conference call, I drove further south past Leeville, where I was
pleased to find a nice population of Brephidium isophthalma (Eastern Pygmy
Blue).  I wondered out loud how these might compare with the Florida
specimens I have back home, and how they might fit into the whole Pygmy Blue
taxonomical puzzle being worked by Harry and Dave.  The passing fishermen
likely wondered out loud who the nut was on the side of the road carrying
the net and wondering out loud (I was obviously hunting for Crawfish).  The
blues were a bit worn, but they were plentiful near the succulent and
occasionally went to nectar.
I flew home last night and will get a chance to recuperate a bit this
weekend before heading out again.  Phew!  New Orleans is a GREAT place to
visit, but I wouldn't want to ...  Well, you know the rest of the cliche.
Mark Walker
Ps:  sorry for the cross post, but I'm hoping to hear from Harry...
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