It's amazing what you can see when you keep your eyes open...and get outside to look.
Earlier this evening, after posting my comment on the ash tree boletes and woolly ash aphids, I decided to try identifying several other mushrooms I've seen in the yard recently. Since the photos I'd taken a couple days ago weren't detailed enough, that necessitated going back outside to look at the actual mushrooms...which necessitated coming back inside to get my camera to rephotograph the new, young mushrooms I was seeing...which necessitated lying flat on my stomach in the grass to get a good angle...which still didn't lead to a definitive identification.
Anyway, once I was outside with camera in hand, I decided to take a little stroll around the front of the property to see what else I could spy on. I got reasonable shots of ironweed and snow-on-the-mountain blooming, one of my little milkweeds, a couple grasshoppers, and then I came to a cicada on a small Siberian elm sapling....
I took my first shot against the light, then went to the other side to get another angle with better lighting. The cicada stayed put which, in the late evening hours, was nice but not terribly unusual. In the better light, though, I noticed a series of "scars" on the twig just behind the cicada. Then I noticed the abdomen pulsing a bit. Suddenly I put 2 and 2 together and realized I was watching a female laying eggs into a twig! That's her, at the start of this post. Note her ovipositor inserted into the twig. Note, too, the angled holes behind her where she had already laid eggs. I'll go back in the morning and see how many holes she drilled in all. Who knows, maybe she'll still be there!
Had I gone outside looking for a cicada laying eggs, I'd never have found one. I probably wouldn't even have found a cicada that I could photograph. However, just by keeping my eyes open and having my camera ready, I found something I'd never witnessed before and was even able to document it photographically. As Qkslvrwolf would say, "Sweeeet!"
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