In August insects catch our attention more often than birds. Compared to the frenzied activity of spring it can seem very quiet unless you look closely. In some ways feeling a bit like the “dead of winter” except that it’s summer. During a recent visit to Prairie Oaks Metro Park it was hard not to notice the toll that a few weeks of dry weather had taken on a wetland that relies on regular rainfall to stay healthy.
But as the water disappears a lone immature wood duck, with a few friends peering above the waters surface, holds out for the promise of rainy days to come.
Not far from the wetland are three ponds (Darby Bend Lakes) formed when old quarries filled with water from underground springs. Surrounded the ponds, and interspersed with plant life, is fine gravel undoubtedly left over form the quarry days. We were looking for dragonflies but were immediately stopped when we noticed a number of very large wasps. They were Cicada Killers, a member of the family of digger wasps that make their home underground. As the name indicates, this one provisions it’s nest with the cicadas. One one egg gets implanted in each cicada. The female is noticeably larger than the male, up to 2 inches long, and of the two, it is the only one able the catch the rather large cicadas. Click here for more information.
We weren’t disappointed in our quest for dragonflies. No new discoveries but the fascination is always there. I was once again reminded that it’s truly a jungle out there when a catbird swopped down to snatch a dragonfly as I moved closer hoping to identify it. No matter what one thinks about the level of consciousness of a dragonfly, this one, now a nutritious snack for the catbird, no longer exists. It’s demise, the flow of life from one from one creature to the next.
Moths and butterflies were also enjoying the sunny day.
Mid-summer flowers and other critters made the day complete.
It’s been a good year for Red-headed Woodpecker sightings which, due to their rarity, are always very special but seeing the very large cicada killer wasp was what really created a sense of wonder on this day.
Thanks for stopping by.
That looks like a great place to explore. Hard to believe September is almost here!
You two see such a lot of interesting things on your outings that it makes me think that I really should try harder. Thank you for another lovely post.
Yes, it’s amazing what you see when you slow down. My wife taught me that!
I have learned it from others but still I am too impatient for my own good.
Saw the many turtles peeking out of the water in your “drying” wetland photo! Great post!
The funny thing is that when I took the picture I didn’t see them.
Thanks Bob and Donna. All photos wonderful, but the wasp overpowering the cicada was real drama…send to Disney.
Thanks Lou. When I first spotted the wasp it was so large that I mistook it for a hummingbird moth.
I really should take my blood pressure before, and then after, reading your entries here. I love leaving everything else behind, stepping into the beautiful world you describe in words and images, and finding myself calmed, intrigued and breathing more fully. Thank you!
Thanks Gerry, putting the post together has the same effect on me.