Thursday, July 28, 2011

Morning Walkabout

The boys and I went on an early morning walkabout today and, despite the drought, I decided to take my camera along. There wasn't anything particularly unusual or earth-shattering, but I still managed to document a bit of what we experienced....

It's been warm enough that I can't count on getting good bug shots either in the early morning or the late evening. However, shortly after we set out, this bush cicada posed prettily for me. Bush cicadas are among the largest of the cicada species in Kansas and prefer open country to trees. Most cicadas in this group are considered annual, but each individual actually lives for 2-3 years below ground as a nymph before emerging and molting into the adult, winged form.

Without a blind (and with 2 large, rambunctious German shepherds frolicking around me), it's hard to get close to birds on my walks, but I managed to get a shot this morning where you can at least identify this lark sparrow...if you squint and look hard enough! This bird is one of a family of lark sparrows raised in our back 5 acres this spring. In the spring, the parents stayed behind while the rest of the migration wave moved on. Eventually we saw the fledglings learning to fly and now the little family group flies confidently between our back acreage and the horse pasture next door.

Moving around to the front yard, this is what the combination of heat, drought and grasshoppers have done to my althea (Rose-of-Sharon) along the driveway. They are officially sticks, with grasshoppers adorning their branches instead of leaves. If you look closely, you can even see areas where the grasshoppers have begun stripping away the bark. Altheas are tough plants, so I'm trusting that these shrubs will survive even this assault, but if the drought goes on a lot longer, I may get proven wrong.

Passing by my pecan tree, I caught this grasshopper pair in an amorous moment - highlighting EXACTLY why I'm letting the black blister beetles go to town on my tomato plants this year.

In fact, I'm counting on this fat female to lay a bunch of eggs and take out some of the progeny of that romantic couple!

Even in the heat and drought, life goes on.


~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

You do have a serious grasshopper problem. They've decided my struggling green beans are delicious. I hardly have any leaves left at all.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Yeah, they're pretty awful. I've decided that, if I were really serious about living off the land, I'd have to learn how to eat the little suckers - they're supposed to be a pretty good protein source...and nothing else is doing particularly well this summer!