Scouting Fulton and Pulaski

by Carl Strang

When I updated my regional guide to singing insects over the winter, I decided to add range maps. This was a little premature, because I barely have begun the survey work, but I also had sources in the scientific literature to augment my own observations.

Here is a page from the guide. The map shows the counties I decided to include in a region centered in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana, but extending a little into Wisconsin and Michigan. Black dots are recent observations, open ones are from the literature, which often goes back more than 5 decades.

Here is a page from the guide. The map shows the counties I decided to include in a region centered in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana, but extending a little into Wisconsin and Michigan. Black dots are recent observations, open ones are from the literature, which often goes back more than 5 decades.

Another winter project then became to identify sites in all the counties where I could focus my survey efforts, mainly state parks and other public properties. The plan is to start visiting them this year, noting species I can identify through sight and hearing without collecting. If collecting seems necessary, I can seek permits in a future year, but there will be plenty to do without going to all that trouble yet.

Over the weekend I visited sites in Fulton and Pulaski Counties, Indiana, which are the empty counties in the snowy tree cricket map at the eastern end of the bottom row. In Fulton County I had decided to focus on the area around Lake Manitou at Rochester. This proved to be a good choice, as there appear to be representative habitats of nearly every type.

The Judy Burton state nature preserve, for instance, has extensive meadows undergoing prairie restoration, and woodlands, all with maintained trails.

The Judy Burton state nature preserve, for instance, has extensive meadows undergoing prairie restoration, and woodlands, all with maintained trails.

It is early in the season, but I was able to add county records for the green-striped grasshopper and spring trig.

Pulaski County boasts the Tippecanoe River State Park and Winamac Fish and Wildlife Area. The state park is almost entirely forested, so I didn’t spend much time there (early singing insect action is in the meadows and prairies), but it will be great later in the year. The fish and wildlife area has a more diverse array of habitats.

This weedy field had many displaying green-striped grasshoppers and a few spring field crickets, both of which I now can add to the maps.

This weedy field had many displaying green-striped grasshoppers and a few spring field crickets, both of which I now can add to the maps.

This grasshopper, photographed in the above field, appears to be a species of Melanoplus, and so not a singing insect.

This grasshopper, photographed in the above field, appears to be a species of Melanoplus, and so not a singing insect.

As time permits, I will be returning to these areas later in the season. I am looking forward to making the acquaintance of many places in the region’s other counties, as well.

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6 Comments

  1. Nancy C said,

    June 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    In case you extend your maps to include information from educated tree cricket enthusiasts (;) — Oecanthus fultoni are frequently heard and seen in both Kenosha and Racine counties.

    • natureinquiries said,

      June 28, 2013 at 5:42 am

      Hi, Nancy,
      Of course I will accept your observations for all the tree cricket species. Thanks!

  2. Lisa Rainsong said,

    June 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Reading about how you approach this work is always helpful to me. Thanks for sharing what you’re doing with singing insect documentation.

  3. Gary Clinkman said,

    July 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I have been hearing green striped grasshoppers and spring field crickets
    since May at Orland Grassland and Turtlehead Lake, both in southwest
    Cook county. In the last ten days at both sites I have heard sounds that
    seem to be ground crickets of some kind. I have listened to the sounds
    of all meadow katydids in this region( on the internet) but none sound like this.
    It is a low buzzy trill that can last 20 to 30 seconds. It is not loud. I can hear
    it from 20 feet away and have heard it from 50 feet. There is nothing flying
    and the sound is very low. It is not the Carolina or the other common ground
    crickets that will be out later this month. Yesterday at Turtlehead I heard
    at least 9 of these in prairie remnant and old field habitats. I did hear a
    high pitched meadow katydid yesterday right next to one of these buzzy
    ones and the buzzy ones sound more like ground crickets. What are they?
    I don’t know.

    • natureinquiries said,

      July 2, 2013 at 6:04 am

      Hi, Gary,
      We are on the edge of the season when new singing insects will be appearing frequently. There are a few candidates for the sounds you describe, and you can find recordings of all of them on the Singing Insects of North America website. You didn’t mention time of day, which might help with some of them. For instance, the spring trig sings until mid-morning, quits for the middle of the day, then picks up again as dusk approaches. Roesel’s katydid begins mid-morning, and is done by late afternoon. The protean shieldback doesn’t begin until late afternoon. Another possibility is the gladiator meadow katydid. The last two don’t match your descriptions as well as the first two, but we don’t yet have a very good vocabulary for describing insect songs. Also, people with different hearing ranges could hear different parts of the same song and so describe it differently. Let me know whether or not any of these possibilities pan out.
      Regards,
      Carl

      • Gary Clinkman said,

        July 2, 2013 at 9:35 pm

        Hi Carl,
        The times that I heard all of these were about 12:00 noon to about
        2:30 pm. I listened to these at the website and found it. Roesel’s
        katydid is the one that has been making these sounds. If Roesel’s
        is the one that is not native to this region it must be increasing it’s
        range. I heard it at Orland last year and this year and at Turtlehead
        this year. But I never heard it before that.
        Thanks,
        Gary


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