The warm summer nights are now alive with the many different sounds of singing insects. It's one of my favorite times of the year, when the evening insect music lulls me to sleep each night. The constant chirping of the Field or House crickets seems to be coming from everywhere. These large black crickets aren't native to North America, but they have become an important food source for many birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
From the woods comes the rhythmic, high-pitched singing of the tree crickets. Several Fleecy wings and Katydids chirp loudly from along the grassy creek. All together they make a pleasant, soothing sound that is rivaled only by the springtime frog songs.
The daytime temperatures were in the 90s last week, and there have been hatches of many insects all at once. Of course, the ones I noticed first were those that bit me! The mosquitoes and Deer flies make working in the garden more of a challenge and the occasional bite from a large Horsefly really gets my attention. There are several kinds of grasshoppers in the meadow and numerous yellow swallow-tailed butterflies and Fritillaries in the flower gardens.
In the late afternoons and evenings, the Dragonflies make their first flights around the yard, to hunt for mosquitoes. They look like tiny, fast-flying airplanes as they zoom back and forth over the garden. The smaller, black Damselflies stay closer to the foliage and flutter away when I lean in for a closer look.
A large brown wolf spider—3 1/2 inches across—guards her webbed nest in a tall stalk of Canada goldenrod. She protects the hundreds of baby spiders who are crawling around in the baseball-sized webbed nest.
An hour before dark, the beds of lavender phlox are visited by the busy little Hummingbird moths, also known as Hawk or Sphinx moths. Last night I counted over 30 of these beautiful little moths as they gathered nectar from the fragrant phlox. Some were only an inch long, while others were 2 1/2 inches and resembled a Hummingbird, hovering at each blossom on whirring wings. I wait all year to see the Hummingbird moths' feeding frenzy, and it's always well worth it.
The hatching of the insects is very timely, as it coincides with the presence of new, hungry birds and other animals. The abundance of new insects one of the ways Nature provides for creatures who need food for their growth, health and survival.
August is a time of buzzing and chriping and whirring wings, clicking and snapping and all insect things. There is more to see and hear now than any time of the year, when you take a walk down Nature's trail. All you have to do to be a part of it is head out the door!
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