Monday, August 18, 2014

While the birding is slow, bug hunting I'll go!

In summer the empire of insects spreads.

~ Adam Zagajewski


Sedge Wren

Southeast winds have paused migration, but only temporarily. Given the hot and humid weather that's in store for us, it's probably going stay that way for at least a week. Many summer birds have dispersed from the prairie and creek corridor, so there's a little bit of a lull in overall activity right now. However, that wouldn't be true of Sedge Wrens! A photographer I know told me he has more Sedge Wren photographs than he knows what to do with.


Evening Primrose

I've been spending most of my field time listening for birds along the creek corridor as I search for insects, especially treehoppers, plant hoppers, and leafhoppers. These Locust Treehoppers (Thelia bimaculata) were a new species for me and were considerably larger than other treehoppers I've come across. It appeals to me to think of them as little aliens, but here they are right in our own backyards.


Locust Treehopper (male)


Locust Treehopper (female)

Treehopper activity seems to have reached summertime peak, or maybe I'm just getting better at finding them. There were quite a few Two-marked Treehoppers, some laying eggs on Nannyberry Viburnum. Buffalo Treehoppers were using Black Locust and Cup Plant. Knowing host plants certainly aids with the process of locating these amazingly camouflaged thorn-mimics.


Two-marked Treehopper


Two-horned Treehopper


Buffalo Treehopper


Buffalo Treehopper


Buffalo Treehoppers

The insect season will go on for awhile, but I'll return my focus back to birding as more fall migrants begin to appear along the creek corridor. For now, it's a lot of fun to do other forms of photography apart from digiscoping while the birding is slow. I mean, just look at some of these amazing bugs! That Derbid Planthopper looks like a miniature elephant!


Virginia Creeper Clearwing


Derbid Planthopper


Black Locust Treehopper


Picture-winged Fly sp.

All images © 2014 Mike McDowell

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