New Sites

by Carl Strang

I enjoy going back to places I have visited before as I survey the singing insects of the Chicago region. Some are beautiful, some have the possibility of harboring species I haven’t found there yet. I am finding, however, that the greatest jumps in progress come from visiting new places. Today I wish to mention some of the ones I checked for the first time this year.

Stoutsburg Savanna Nature Preserve

The Stoutsburg Savanna is a state nature preserve in northern Jasper County, Indiana. I realized that I had done nearly all my Jasper County survey work in the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, and I needed to look elsewhere. Stoutsburg’s beauty was a pleasant surprise, and I made some nice observations there.

Mottled sand grasshopper, Stoutsburg Savanna

Another new Jasper County site was the combined NIPSCO Savanna and Aukiki Wetlands. Though much of the latter, sadly, has been taken over by reed canary grass and other invasive plants, part of the area remains good quality.

The prairie portion of the site had handsome grasshoppers.

An Aukiki broad-winged bush katydid

I was glad for the opportunity to get a series of photos of this female broad-winged bush katydid.

Another site I had been wanting to see was Wintergreen Woods Nature Preserve, a LaPorte County (Indiana) Conservation Trust property. This was another pleasant place to visit.

Wintergreen Woods provided me with a county record for the clipped-wing grasshopper, a crepitating species.

The best observation at a new site came from the Ruth Kern Nature Preserve, an Acres Land Trust property in Fulton County, Indiana.

An interesting looking katydid peeked at me from a grass leaf.

It proved to be a marsh conehead, the first I have seen outside the Great Marsh of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park.

I released the female after taking a series of documenting photos.

The Ruth Kern preserve’s forested trails are pleasant to walk, looping down to the Tippecanoe River.

I look forward to new discoveries in future years at sites I still haven’t explored. It is good to see the work done by governmental and private agencies to protect some of the best wild places.

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