Think that'll work? Me neither.
Not long after Michael Male left, Lang Elliott and Wil Hershberger arrived, intending to make high-definition films of insects. I assured them that this is a very buggy place, and they found gold in these thar hills. It's amazing what comes around when you manage for diversity in vegetation, and plant gardens like a schizo monkey.
Lang and Wil had been here before, when they were doing the field work for their incredible book The Songs of Insects
(Houghton Mifflin, 2007). The book comes with a CD in back, and it finally let me identify the myriad whirrs, chirps, cheeps and clicks coming out of our meadows. The photography, some of which was done right in our basement guest room of our very own crickets, trigs, cicadas and katydids, is stunning. Why, we just used their book today. The kids found a dead cicada in the yard, and we identified it as a Robinson's cicada, green morph (Tibicen robinsonii
). What a pleasure to be able to do that, and know its call, too. A good book is a beautiful thing.
Now Lang and Wil are filming for a soon-to-be-unveiled online project. They found our gardens and meadow a wonderland of color and insect song. Here's a long-spurred meadow katydid singing on my Perovskia, or Russian sage.
Here are the spurs in question--actually cercae. They look like a bull's horns, turned inward.
Lots of bug ID is done at the naughty end. Wil is forever talking about how one bug's genitalia differ from another's. OK. I'm down with that.
Wil is in back, Lang in front as they flood the bug with light and film him singing his dry prolonged shirring rattle.
We all must spend time at our laptops, and Chet Baker makes sure that time is extra enjoyable.
Any guest who visits Indigo Hill sooner or later winds up in the Seat of Honor at our kitchen table, with a lap full of Boston.
I am glad to have our 80-acre sanctuary used for such purposes, for its abundant diversity of life to be recorded and catalogued, photographed and appreciated. If I have to trek to the grocery store a few more times than usual, wash a few towels and maybe some grotty field clothes, it's worth it. When those photos and recordings and films go out to the world at large, a circle is completed. We like to share.
Up to a point. Hear that, "Jack?"