The patterns on a lovely fall evening caught my eye. One “Oh, that’s neat!”, my camera came out, and plans of an “aerobic”/fitness walk were dashed. Inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Patterns of Nature, I lingered along the Grist Mill trail at Patapsco Valley State Park and caught these shots of wood, bark, and rocks. I hope you enjoy these!
Idyllic? Serene? Peaceful? Allow me to explain why this scene is such an extreme dichotomy to what lies just outside the camera view.
Where these wetlands end, the urban congestion begins. This picturesque view is surrounded by industrial lots, old dumping zones for cars, tightly squeezed housing developments, and a town that has far more than its share of serious crime. It isn’t a community where you walk after dark.
Could it be a more glorious day? Ideal weather for a fall bird count / field trip to the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center in Harford County to catch a glimpse of any migratory species. Special sightings: a yellow-billed cuckoo, downy woodpecker, and many red-eyed vireos. (No pics of those as I find it difficult to manage binoculars for viewing and camera for pics – those birds don’t sit still for very long!)
6:45am and the marsh is relatively quiet. The only noise is the background soundscape of crickets and katydids. There are no signs of our typical residents – the herons, egrets, beaver, ducks, and birds. But the mute swan is a surprise. It’s near and center, clearly visible and close enough to be photographed. I watch for a long time as it preens itself. The spots on the water surface are clumps of its feathers.
One of the sweetest sounds of summer is the nighttime chirping and singing of crickets and katydids. (Well, unless you’re out camping in the woods … Then the constant “din” may not be as pleasurable to you because it’s keeping you awake!) But the songs could gently fall away from one year to another and we may hardly notice. As ubiquitous as that summer sound is, there is little information on how widespread the cricket population is and whether it’s increasing or decreasing.
Enter the “Cricket Crawl” – a sound census of the singing insects of the night: crickets and katydids.