I took some pictures at the park yesterday. These baby Canada Geese were just adorable foraging. Mom and Dad stayed nearby and made us all keep our distance. I wasn't nearly as close as this pic makes it appear.
"Look but don't touch. Got it?"
Feel free to click for a closer look. Don't forget to stop by Life With My 3 Boybarians to see what this Tuesday has to offer.
Today's critter of the day is the Eyed Click Beetle.
Ever heard of it? I hadn't. I was still unaware of its existence when one smacked into the side of my head as I was picking strawberries. Apparently, in true armadillo fashion ('dillos jump vertically when threatened), click beetles launch themselves into the air when frightened. This produces their characteristic clicking sound. It is an interesting defense.
I really like the big, fake eye look. It reminds me of some caterpillars.
They can get to be up to two inches long. This particular one wasn't quite that large.
Eyed Click Beetles are quite common throughout the southeast although I had never seen one before today. They have a rather striking appearance, so I think I would remember if I had seen one before.
It's Periodic Cicada time again. The ones emerging right now in Shakerag are Thirteen-Year Cicadas. The last time we had this particular brood was in 1998. Back then, I was living in Nashville. The cicadas were bordering on plague-levels. Working in a business that had the outside door opening and closing all day allowed us to have enough cicadas inside the store that my female co-worker and I had to remove bugs from each others backs several times a day. Another co-worker spent most of his time sweeping cicadas up off the floor and back outside. No, I won't soon forget Brood XIX Periodic Cicadas. These particular Thirteen-Year Cicadas are also known as The Great Southern Brood.
Perhaps they won't be that abundant here this year.
The females lay eggs in the bark of trees. The hatchlings bury themselves about a foot deep into the soil. Then they wait. Thirteen long years, they wait. Then when the soil reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the Cicada nymph emerges from the ground.
This is what the holes look like.
Above is a cicada nymph before its molt into adulthood.
Above is a cicada in the process of transforming from nymph to adult. I think this individual has a deformity of his wings. I'll see if he is still there tomorrow. Pale yellow is their color when they first emerge. They darken during the first hour of adulthood.
Adult cicadas dry out and their exoskeletons harden over the first week of adult life.
Here is an adult. The red eyes are striking.
Here are some more adults:
Cicadas are very tasty to birds, reptiles, and other animals. Their only defense is sheer numbers. They do not bite or sting.
As soon as their exoskeletons harden, the race is on to mate. Their above-ground lives are only about six weeks.
He's a mere shell of his former self. Oh wait, this just his molted skin.
Before long the "singing" of cicadas attempting to find a mate will begin. This is the same song the annual cicadas will be singing in the late summer. Guess you have to be a cicada to find it appealing. I just think of it as summer noise.
As always, you can click on any of the photos for a closer look.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been having some unusual guests. While I had seen a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak once or twice before, we have had about 25 at a time! On more than one occasion, I counted a dozen males, not counting all the females. It has been quite remarkable.
But now they are gone. I knew they were probably a feeding flock passing through on the way to their breeding grounds up north, but I had hoped that a pair or two might stay. They were here for a couple of weeks of fun and about fifty pounds of sunflower seed. Unfortunately, they are jumpy birds and I never got the shot of them I was hoping for. But that's the way it goes with photographing wild birds.