by Carl Strang
In the Chicago region when someone mentions the Kankakee Sands, usually they are referring to the Nature Conservancy project in Newton County, Indiana. There is, however, a nature preserve in southeastern Kankakee County, Illinois, also known as “Kankakee Sands,” which also is worth knowing about.
I paid my first visit to this site on Friday, and left with a good dozen singing insect county records.
He was buried in a grass clump, offering no chance of a good photo. Fortunately he was open to climbing onto my finger for a portrait. The all-black pronotum sides are unique.
The most common orthopterans were tinkling ground crickets and straight-lanced meadow katydids, unsurprising on this sand soil.
I was pleased also to find that my new friend the handsome grasshopper is common there.
Both mottled sand grasshoppers and Boll’s grasshoppers also were there, the former often punctuating the scenery with their bright yellow hind wings in flight.
There also were plenty of bush katydids.
Kankakee Sands are worth a visit on either side of the state line.