Listening in Nature: Security, Refuge, and Analysis


 I’m going to shut my 2020 sequence of Listening in Nature
posts with tales, images, and recordings from my four-month subject analysis
venture for the Geauga (County) Park District. Subject analysis is usually
immersive and richly rewarding for me. On this COVID 12 months, my two locations of security and refuge have been my residence and the parks I studied.

This was the primary 12 months since 2012 that I’d spent my summer time
and fall finding out singing bugs for the Geauga Park District (GPD). I’ve surveyed
crickets and katydids in all of the counties within the prolonged Cleveland area of
NE Ohio and created an on-line subject information for the seven-county space. However it was in
Geauga County’s parks that I started my preliminary subject examine and analysis in 2008 and
did a number of analysis initiatives between 2009 and 2012. Not surprisingly, the
Geauga Park District seems like residence. In a way, it’s the place I went to highschool once I was studying easy methods to discover, document, and determine singing bugs.

For 2020, I created a analysis proposal that may doc the
species in every of 4 parks and park properties and the way every location supported
singing insect communities. I selected Holbrook Hollows within the southwest nook,
Chickagami Park within the southeast nook, and each Observatory Park and an
extra park property to symbolize the northeast.  



Along with 4 separate places, I imagined weaving
all that knowledge into a bigger four-movement work that may examine species
prevalence and vary growth between the southwest, southeast, and northeast
corners of the county. 

It was an formidable – and irresistibly fascinating – plan. I
could be trying and listening for attainable solutions to the next questions that intrigued me:

Which species have gotten established in Geauga County as
they transfer northward into this area? 

Do any elements of Geauga County nonetheless sound as they
would have ten years in the past as a result of the northward species had not reached there but?

Which properties have each Black-horned Tree Crickets
and the look-alike Forbes’s Tree Crickets? I’ve been finding out these two species for the previous a number of
years and Geauga is among the NE Ohio counties within the species’ overlap zone.

I created this plan earlier than COVID arrived in Ohio and
submitted my proposal simply a few weeks in spite of everything conservatory classroom
educating was moved on-line. School and workers had just some days to do what we
may to arrange.

Throughout the identical time, nearly all of my upcoming naturalist
educating for your complete 12 months was canceled.

However the grant was authorized, and pandemic precautions would
not restrict my capability to pursue my subject analysis

I used to be deeply anxious and frightened about COVID, but additionally
relieved that my survey would take me to the protection of the meadows, woods, and
wetlands. I used to be primarily out after darkish, as that’s when most crickets and
katydids sing throughout the months of July and August. As a result of I used to be typically in
areas closed to the general public or off path, social distancing was not a problem.  I
all the time had a masks accessible ought to I encounter any people. Journey
was affordable, as all of my analysis websites have been inside an hour of residence.

The prelude to the singing insect season started in late Might
and early June. I anticipated Spring Subject Crickets in scattered places however did
not know whether or not I’d discover Spring Trigs anyplace in my Geauga survey websites. 

Throughout my 2012 survey in Frohring Meadows (southwest Geauga County) I remembered
listening to one or two particular person early-season thriller singers. I had no concept at
the time who these crickets is perhaps, as Spring Trigs merely weren’t even a
consideration for NE Ohio. However Spring Trigs have been steadily, decisively transferring
north, so maybe extra pioneers have been now coming into Geauga County. 


That is the  NE Ohio snowbelt – the ultimate frontier for southern and central Ohio cricket and katydid species which can be transferring north. (Map from Wikipedia)


Once I initially checked Holbrook Hollows in mid-June, Spring
Trigs have been cheerfully singing within the heat afternoon solar! With every passing
week, their numbers and places elevated. I in the end discovered them in any respect 4 properties, although they have been way more considerable at Holbrook Hollows within the southwest nook of Geauga.

The Roesel’s Katydid is a non-native, although non-invasive, species
I typically discover within the northeast nook of my northeast Ohio area. They
have been launched from Europe to the Montreal space in 1952 and subsequently moved
west from their preliminary introduction to the Chicago space and now into Wisconsin
and japanese Iowa, based on Singing Bugs of North America. The place did I
discover them this 12 months? As anticipated, within the northeast nook of Geauga County.


The top of June and first week of July offered the primary
main proclamation of singing insect season’s arrival: Gladiator Meadow Katydids on the finish of June…


 and Broad-winged Bush Katydids every week later. 

most spectacular numbers have been at a GPD permit-only property within the northeast nook of the
county. I’ve by no means heard or seen so many of those two species anyplace. (You’ll be able to learn extra about these Gladiators and Broad-winged Bush Katydids in my July put up, Nervous…or Impatient?)

By the third week of July, it was apparent this is able to be an
excellent season for one in all my favourite katydid species: the Rectangular-winged Katydid. Although extra widespread some years than others, they have been ridiculously
considerable in all corners of Geauga County in 2020


Late July and early August introduced the annual explosion of
tree cricket track within the meadows and woodland edges. Floor crickets and Fall Subject Crickets have been the continuo part offering the sonic basis, and
July’s katydids continued singing even
as new sections of the insect ensemble joined them onstage. 


Striped Floor Cricket, Observatory Park. 

This little magnificence is definitely solely about 1/2″ in measurement.


I used to be immersed in
sound and in moonlight, distant lightning, and even the aftermath of showers dripping
from the leaves into the musical texture of my recordings.



Two-spotted Tree Cricket (male)  Within the recording beneath, you will hear first a Slender-winged Tree Cricket, then a Two-spotted Tree Cricket. You could possibly hear rainwater dripping off the leaves of their river birch. Picture and recording from Chickagami Park. 



Holbrook Hollows boardwalk, 8/2/20 (above). Curve-tailed Bush Katydids and Rectangular-winged Katydids have been singing, and this Curve-tailed pair was within the technique of mating.


There was an apparent distinction in insect track between the parks. Aside from just a few scattered Spring Trigs, I didn’t hear northbound
crickets and katydids within the northeast nook of the county. Once I would arrive
at Observatory Park and the opposite close by GPD property, the ensemble sounded so

It was the sound of 2010 fairly than 2020. 

Two Slender-winged Tree Crickets mating whereas a 3rd sings hopefully proper above them. NE Geauga County. The recording beneath is his image.


There have been no Good-looking Trigs, no Leaping Bush Crickets, no Spherical-tipped Coneheads…have been they going to mature late up there, or had they but to
arrive in any respect?

August is all the time probably the most joyful month of my 12 months. All of the remaining
crickets and katydids mature inside that month till the complete insect ensemble
performs its orchestral tutti. Later August additionally brings wonderful magnificence to the
meadows: goldenrods, asters, Joe-pye weed, ironweed, and varied tall, yellow
composites whose names I’ve but to maintain straight. 

 Observatory Park’s “Planetary Meadow”


However August’s development additionally introduced the start of educating
all my every day music concept lessons remotely from residence. Late nights within the subject have been
adopted by early mornings educating from a small room in our little bungalow.
March and April felt like getting by a short-term disaster, however now I used to be
educating a whole semester of fabric on-line with out the house and assets
of my classroom. 


I nonetheless had a number of weeks remaining for the survey.

I attempted to maintain distant educating, growing COVID nervousness,
and my fieldwork as separate as I may. At occasions, I succeeded in specializing in how lucky I used to be to show safely from residence and in addition do analysis safely distanced
within the subject. However I couldn’t sustain with the work and nonetheless edit and even label
my images and subject recordings. 

Tutorial calendars don’t wait, nor does

Within the southern a part of the county, Leaping Bush Crickets
and Good-looking Trigs have been considerable all through Holbrook Hollows. What a distinction
to the primary little cluster of Good-looking Trigs that started to colonize close by
Frohring Meadows simply over ten years earlier! 

Feminine Good-looking Trig, Frohring Meadows, SW Geauga County, 2012

 I’d solely discovered Leaping Bush Crickets in a single location on the border of Frohring in 2012, however now they have been a
vital a part of the August and September ensembles each at Frohring and at
Holbrook Hollows.


I discovered this Leaping Bush Cricket singing underneath some peeling sycamore bark within the Holbrook Hollows parking zone. I introduced him residence and set him up in a leaf and twig-filled mesh cage the suited him fairly nicely. See “Crickets – and Katydids – within the Home 2020″

Spherical-tipped Coneheads had already quickly established their presence
at Frohring even in 2012 and their penetrating buzzing was blended into the sound
texture of Holbrook Hollows as nicely. 


Good-looking Trigs, Leaping Bush Cricket, and Spherical-tipped Conehead at Holbrook Hollows

Southwest Geauga County’s parks appeared like Portage and
Summit Counties to their south 


Whereas in lesser numbers at Chickagami in southeast Geauga, these species
weren’t a part of the soundscape within the northeast in any respect. Their songs have been extra
widespread even alongside the lake shore in Lake County than inland. Lake Erie’s waters maintain these areas
hotter within the late fall, so singing insect could have extra time to finish their life cycle.

The northeast Geauga snowbelt nonetheless appeared like…the

Solely later within the fall did I hear just a few pockets of Good-looking
Trigs and a few  Leaping Bush
Crickets and Spherical-tipped Coneheads. Driving from Holbrook Hollows to
Observatory Park sounded as if I’d gone again ten years in time.


 Observatory Park’s Planetary Meadow in late September.

Time was quick now, as nights have been getting too chilly for
insect track. I nonetheless wanted to document the crickets whose species I may solely decide
by evaluation of their songs: the Forbes’s Tree Crickets and if current, the look-alike
Black-horned Tree Crickets. I’d recorded about 30 of them at Observatory Park
the earlier 12 months and now hoped for an affordable sampling from Holbrook Hollows.
Wetland restoration work was already starting on the park property close to
Observatory, however possibly I may nonetheless handle to make some recordings there as nicely. 


He was singing at Holbrook Hollows, however was he a Forbes’s Tree Cricket,, or a Black-horned Tree Cricket? It is not attainable to inform and not using a track evaluation by temperature and wing strokes per second.

Subject recordings from Holbrook necessitated bushwhacking
by very dense, tall goldenrod blended with blackberry, scattered saplings,
and shrubs akin to crimson osier dogwood on a slope dropping down towards a wetland.
extra Holbrook web site was in an influence line hall that additionally featured blackberry
and tall goldenrod.

I managed to soundly negotiate each places and even
introduced residence two crickets I believed sounded a bit of totally different from one another.
As well as, I additionally introduced residence two extra crickets from the northeast Geauga property–
a fast catch earlier than rain threatened to drench my recording tools.

As soon as I may document and analyze their songs from residence, I
confirmed that I had a Forbes’s and a Black-horned Tree Cricket from every of
these two websites. Each species are positively current in northeast and southwest Geauga

Black-horned Tree Cricket within the recording beneath. He’s adopted by a Forbes’s Tree Cricket, and you may additionally hear a Black-legged Meadow Katydid within the background

A chilly spell in September enormously diminished singing insect
numbers a bit of sooner than I might have anticipated, and by early October I had
to acknowledge that the survey was primarily over.

As I do yearly, I spent the following month near Lake
Erie’s comparatively heat waters that delay a singing insect-killing freeze close to
the lakeshore. It was the annual postlude that concluded with simply the singing
bugs I had been in a position to catch and convey residence to complete their ultimate
performances subsequent to the south home windows of the eating room by day and close to the warmth
vents at evening. I listened to them each afternoon and night as I graded
assignments and ready exams. 

Lastly in late November and December I may edit the
images and subject recordings that documented not solely the singing bugs however
every little thing I’d seen, heard, and absorbed in these 4 months. As in earlier years,
I got here to like the locations I studied in such element and so deeply appreciated
what they revealed, shared, and taught me. This 12 months, additionally they stored me secure,
emotionally nourished, and grounded as solely nature can.




 In case you’d wish to learn my ultimate illustrated report, it should
be accessible sooner or later on my web site (

As well as, I will be doing a presentation on my 2020
analysis for the Geauga Park District that will likely be free and open to the general public
(in all probability by way of Zoom), and I’ll announce the date as soon as it’s been scheduled. It also needs to seem on the GPD web site underneath “Applications and Occasions.”

COVID-19 permits, I additionally anticipate to co-lead a singing insect hike at one of many
survey websites in August. 

You’ll be able to attain me by e-mail at [email protected]

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