Our windshields are
in fact, extremely efficient collecting nets. At just 60 MPH the
average windshield sweeps a volume of air equal to 594 cu. ft. per
second. On a 60 mile journey, that's the same as spreading a net
of some 396,817 sq. ft. Or, to put it another way, 100 hours of
driving equates with a gigantic windshield nearly 1.5 miles square
miles in area, held aloft for one sixteenth of a second. With such
an effective gathering device positioned in front of our eyes, it
is easy to see why the growing store of fascinating information
about dejecta has led to splay collection becoming a major global
The two most important
factors in the capture and preservation of splays are a collection
surface enabling the splay to be easily removed, and the proper
observance of correct drying times so that the specimen remains
intact. Most splay enthusiasts prepare the surface of their windshield
by first wiping it down with a damp cloth. A sheet of good quality
clear plastic film of the clingy type is then laid over the glass.
Provided there is some moisture underneath, the film will remain
bubble free and sit firmly in place without the need for additional
fixing. Once a splay has formed on the surface, it can be easily
removed with the specimen in situ.
Splays that strike uncovered
windshields may be loosened with a clear highgrade oil such
as oleander or witchhazel. They can then be carefully removed
with a flexible blade. However, this should not be attempted until
sufficient drying time has allowed the formation of a binding crust
or skak. The skak should cover the entire surface of the splay.
It is also important to check that the skak is of sufficient consistency
to firmly hold larger nucleic particles such as insect debris, seeds,
etc. As most drying is achieved by driving which creates an airflow
over the specimen, it is necessary to be constantly alert to the
danger of losing these more wind prone pieces and thus significantly
lowering the value of the splay.