Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Up to my Knees in Grasshoppers

New England Aster in front of cornfield

Almost daily, I walk our “block.”
Past an assortment of homes, old and new. To my favorite stretch of country lane—the path between the fields.
This year, a harvest of soybeans and corn.

Wildlife is drawn here, as am I.
From within the soybean field, deer raise their heads, chest-deep in the amber stems. Watching my progress down the lane, stepping cautiously toward the safety of the tree line.
From the shortened stalks of corn, killdeer and mourning doves rise, and spread their calls over the now empty, open space. Canada Geese stand feeding in small groups, their long black necks hiding in the vertical shadows of the field.

I found a very large grasshopper here, tangled in the grass of the road’s edge. With strikingly yellow legs and black chevrons decorating them.
And started reading about grasshoppers when I returned home.

The hundreds of possibilities.
Entire manuals and field guides devoted to a single insect.
Their transformation into swarms of locusts.
And international studies as to how and why swarms occur.



And I, with this simply beautiful insect perched on my hand, cannot understand it.

She does not seem at all concerned.
All that matters to her, is cleaning her antennae.

Differential Grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis?


cornfield
click photos to enlarge

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28 comments:

Rose said...

Grasshoppers seem to be the main insect in my garden right now. Even the praying mantis, abundant in the summer, seems to have left.
Lovely photos, and, as always, such descriptive narrative, Nina. I really enjoyed your comparison of the ironweed in August and now in your earlier post.

Cicero Sings said...

We were up to our knees with grasshopper in early September. We had a few "hangers on" up to about a week ago but now ... none.

Thomas J. Clancy said...

Hi. I am really glad that I found your blog in blogcatalog. Your photos and especially your writing are excellent. I can't wait to read more.

NCmountainwoman said...

It continues to amaze me how you can give us such poetic narrative and science education all at once. No doubt that both of your brain hemispheres are working all the time. And that's all the better for us. Thanks.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

O.K. that is more than I could do.Your pictures and commentary are wonderful,but I have to say I'm glad the Grasshopper is on your finger not on mine.Did I mention that I don't 'like'grsshoppers anywhere near me?

Kyle said...

Nina, I just love to read your narratives. Whether the subject is grasshoppers, walnuts or maple trees, your writing always brings a sense of warmth and relaxation. Definitely one of my favorite daily stops. Thank you.

~Kyle

PS - Except when you start showing pictures of snakes. Those I can do without. ;-)

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Your a poet first, and a blogger second. Your poems could really stand on their own merit, ... and although the photos obviously complement, the real imagery is in the language. Really well done.

Wendy said...

Cute little guy! Our grasshoppers are long gone. It's cold here. Brrrrr!

nina said...

Thanks for enjoying this post--this grasshopper experience has left me realizing how little I really know about the natural world. Looking up information, only to discover you're in over your head!
In trying to ID this one, I came across volumes of information. Who knew?
And the relationship between locusts and grasshoppers I'm still not quite clear about. It seems the term locust refers to the swarming phase of certain species--and this may be one of them?
I'm calling it a Differential grasshopper because I read that those are considered to be the major pests of soybean and corn crops--and have the black-marked legs. But with 400 species in the US, I could be wrong!

Can anyone help in wading through this information?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I thought locusts were grasshoppers. I don't really know much about them though. Sorry I can't help you.

RuthieJ said...

I think it's neat the grasshopper sat on your finger that long and cleaned it's antenna besides! Thanks for sharing the pictures and information.

kjpweb said...

Very nicely done!
You might have some luck at http://bugguide.net
They are pretty helpful in that sort of ID!
Cheers, Klaus

betchai said...

the picture of the cornfield is just amazing! i miss it, i grew up close to corn fields and rice fiels in the philippines, and after harvest that is when we had a blast with the grasshopper and dragonflies.

Carletta said...

I love your narrative 'voice' as much as I do your images!

Lapa37 said...

Very neat my daughter loves to pick them up.

ratmammy said...

amazing photos! how were you able to get him to sit there so long!

bobbie said...

Hoppers are favorites of mine. How DID you get him to sit there?

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

He has very interesting markings. He must have been very comfortable in your company to stay resting and cleaning on your hand. I believe I am a tad bit jealous.

sandyshares said...

big ones too sandy

twobarkingdogs said...

We had the 17 year cicadas four years ago and I don't care to go through that again! yuck.

Tootie said...

I still remember seeing LOTS of grasshoppers on the Missouri farm, where I grew up.

Misty Dawn said...

Great post - I love the pictures - and I especially enjoy your writing. You are a very talented writer.

fishing guy said...

Nina: A wonderful capture of that grasshopper. It was very patient.

Reader Wil said...

You describe your country so well that I had the feeling to be present. Your pictures of the grasshopper are very good!

babooshka said...

I've had a bird on my hand, but a grasshopper.. Excellent catch

Lilli & Nevada said...

Great photo i don't get to see grasshoppers around here much, you got a really good shot of him.

Greyscale Territory said...

I can't remember the last time I saw a grasshopper! So these pics are quite novel for me! Don't their bodies look so intricate and minutely detailed!

Larry said...

Hi Nina, Wonderful photos and pros as usual. My solution to the grasshopper problem... more birds, especially bluebirds!