17 August finds us holding "science at work day" Open House for the BioBlitz in the lab set up in the building beside the house where our trailer is parked and tent pitched. My recent paintings are displayed beside those of the other Bio-blitz artist, Kathleen Gallant, near the front door. I have retreated to one of the tables at the back where the floor is more stable and there is less coming-and-going, to demonstrate the painting of a red grasshopper from the bog that we visited yesterday.
All around me are museum staff, university students, and visiting scientists, and for the past two weeks the tables at the lab have been full of busy people especially in the evenings, curating what they found that day. They all work very hard and some get little sleep - especially the mammalogists who must drive out early to check their mouse traps, and return before noon to skin and "put up" mice until evening.
Visitors to the Open House examine their rows of neat study skins are all pinned out on cardboard, with fur brushed and tails straight, and ask lots of questions. At another table plants are being pressed, and at another, clear envelopes of butterflies and dragonflies are displayed. My grasshopper will join the other pinned grasshoppers and crickets when I am finished its portrait.
Don has not identified this red grasshopper yet, but we all are so amazed at how well it matches the colours of the bog that we thought it should be painted. It may be a special bog species or a colour form of a more widespread species, adapted to this environment.