Roesel’s Katydid Trip, Part 2

by Carl Strang

Having established a new Tippecanoe County southern limit to the known distribution of Roesel’s katydid in Indiana, as I described yesterday, on Thursday of last week I went farther south to seek them in Montgomery County. I stopped at several patches of habitat along the highways, but though I heard plenty of spring field crickets and kicked up numbers of tiny grasshoppers, I found no Roesel’s.

Here is an example of one of my stops. This area of several acres was, to my eye, just like the Purdue site and others where I have found abundant Roesel’s katydids farther north. None here, though.

I parked at Shades State Park, hiking the beautiful trails there as I waited for the temperature to rise.

Sugar Creek from an overlook on one of the Shades State Park trails.

Shades, like its more famous neighbor at Turkey Run, features interesting little canyons carved through sandstone and shale.

The sandstone wall of a canyon.

It was nice as well to hear the songs of birds I don’t often encounter in northeast Illinois. At mid-day I hopped on the bike and set out. It was fairly windy, though not nearly as bad as on the previous day, and I expected to hear Roesel’s if they were present. In a ride of more than 15 miles, though, I found only one little group of 3 singing males. I stopped and waded through the grass, but it was dense and tall, and the katydids were down low, perhaps to avoid the wind, so I wasn’t able to see them and assess their wing lengths.

On Thursday I shifted still farther south, to Johnson County (the next county south of Indianapolis). I drove all around the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area through the morning, again stopping often to look for Roesel’s in likely looking habitat patches, but found none. I have no photos; this area is interdigitated with the Camp Atterbury military base where photography is forbidden.

Again at mid-day I went for an exploratory bike ride. It was a little cooler, reaching only the upper 60’s, but I should have heard Roesel’s if they were there. I heard none, despite a very high proportion of roadside lined with suitable habitat. I cannot say they don’t occur in Johnson County, but for now I am inclined to think they may be only in the north half of Indiana.

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