After just 7 days in Portal our trip was over. We did pretty well, with a variety of amazing behaviours of ants in spectacular surroundings.
Frank behaved itself pretty well on location - delivering fantastic smooth moves at ant-eye level with only a few minor hiccups. New cameras using the Panasonic AVC Intra system gave us unprecedented picture quality and ease of recording in the field. With the help of Howard Bourne looking after equipment, Gavin Thurston was able to apply his 25 years experience in close-up filming to produce some incredible images. As ever in Wildlife film making, we had to curtail our ambition and make it fit the small time slot the budget allowed us. We were just getting going when our slot on the calender expired.
As we drove around the Chiricahuas on our way to interstate 10, the sun lit up the clouds in a range of pinks and oranges, silhouetting the nearby peaks in a way that could not have changed much for a million years or so. As the sun rose, very recent changes to the landscape became very visible, roads, a house here, a house there, the odd barn, and of course the interstate at San Simon. On the horizon other mountains rose out of the plains (mostly included in the Coronado National Forest, along with the Chiricahuas), and between them vast dry flat lands with ranches, mines and factories - all full of ants - passed by as we made our way to the airport.
20 cases on the conveyor belt at Tucson and home.