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Monday, June 21, 2004

 

Farewell Brood X, Class of 2004!

Our 17-year cicadas, the cause of so much anticipation, anxiety, and excitement this Spring, have all but disappeared.

Having done their periodic duty by emerging by the millions, copulating, and laying eggs, there is hardly a trace of them now, a month later.

The whirring background chorus, which used to start promptly at 7 AM and last until early evening, is no more - there's absolutely no aural evidence of any surviving cicadas until about noon. Even then, the ear-splitting cacophony of late May is now replaced by a few dispirited chirps here and there.

I hadn't actually seen any live cicadas at all over the past few days. About 3 PM this afternoon, I stepped outside in front our building for some fresh air and walked over to a tall tree at the edge of the sidewalk. Suddenly, I heard a familiar, loud chirping just off my left shoulder. Sure enough, there was a healthy-looking cicada clinging to the tree bark.

I picked him up by the ends of his wings (of course, it was a "he", since only the males make noise,) and looked him over. He looked as lively as any I saw a month ago, his six little legs clawing the air, his wings flexing, trying to fly away, and of course, he was chattering up a storm in protest.

It was a little sad, really. "Where the heck have you been, pal!" I thought. This Johnny-come-Lately was chirping away, hoping to attract a virtually non-existant female with which to mate. All in vain at this point.

Well, I'm glad I went a little crazy over the 17-year cicadas this time around. I really enjoyed learning about them - learning a lot, thanks to the Internet - and having them around. Now that they're gone, what am I gonna do for fun??
Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota) in our office's koi pond in Columbia
Hey, I just discovered that the little koi pond behind our office building has frogs!

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