Saturday, September 12, 2009

Last call

Rounded out the evening by stopping by Pelham Bay Park (NYCs largest park located in the eastern Bronx). Just southwest of the Orchard Beach parking lot, I heard a rousing chorus of Common True Katydids! Also heard an Oblong-winged, Greater-angled and the Fall field and Jumping bush crickets. I headed over to Rodman's Neck (by the NYPD shooting range) and heard my second Forktailed bush katydid with some of the more common species.

Finally I reached home on City Island --- just two species were heard as I entered my house -- the greater angle and the jumping bush.

Twas a great evening and my ears are now imprinted on the songs of these insects. I doubt the night will ever sound quite the same again!

Thanks to Sam and the other organizers and our team members: Alan, Graeme, Tenzing, Julianne (briefly!) and myself (Kevin).

And fork-tailed makes seven!

Just when it looked like that fork-tailed katydid (Scudderia furcata) might prove forever elusive, success! High up in a spruce tree by the Birds of Prey exhibit, a fork-tail could be clearly heard. Echoing it down below was the lovely "who-cooks-for-you?" call of one of the Zoo's resident barred owls -- another memorable sound in a noisy night in the Bronx!

Not so common

Finally, down by the Bronx River, the team at last hears a common true katydid (Pterophylla camellifolia), perhaps more at home in the Zoo's older-growth forested river trail.

Still proving elusive are the fork-tailed katydids (Scudderia furcata), but the team isn't giving up yet. A few tantalizing single tic sounds have them determined to push on through every fork in the road....

In the village...

the Somba Village, the lesser angle-wing katydid (Microcentrum retinerve) sings tonight. And now our team will make their way from the arid African grassland to the lush banks of the Zoo's Bronx River path --- surely a good spot for some more insects...

Katydids and campers

Our team just heard an oblong-winged katydid (Amblycorypha oblongifolia ) from the steps of the World of Reptiles. Do you think the lizards inside are going crazy knowing what tasty treats sing to them a few feet away?

Also heard, and seen, was a gaggle of children and their parents, making their way across the Zoo's campus as part of one of the Education Department's popular Family Overnight Safaris. It's a busy night at the Bronx Zoo!

Lions and tigers and northern fall field crickets, Oh My!

Our crew has made its way into the Bronx Zoo, and was thrilled to almost immediately hear a northern fall field cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus) near the Zoo's service entrance on Southern Blvd.

The crickets are loud tonight at the Zoo, and our explorers are hoping for more identifications as they make their way toward the Zoo's historic African Plains exhibit, where Thompson's gazelles might be somewhat surprised to see an off-hours expedition of entomologists.

A peaceful cacophony

Could it be the gentle Jesuit influence? Cricket sounds outside the residences on Fordham campus are louder than others sampled so far...

More of the same...

Moving on to the September 11th Memorial Flower Garden on the Fordham campus, our intrepid explorers hear more greater angle-wing katydids and common bush crickets. They'll check out the Jesuit residences next...

Success Right Away!

The gang encounters their first two species -- greater angle-wing katydid (Mincrocentrum rhombifolium) and jumping bush cricket (Orocharis saltator) right out side of Larkin Hall on the Fordham campus. Will the whole night prove this easy? Stay tuned!

The Expedition Begins!

Neither rain, nor snow, nor Bronx traffic shall stop us as the Matteson and Clark Expedition begins in just a few minutes. We check our gear, get our listening skills in order, and bid our loved ones adieu. Stay tuned!

Last minute! Learning cricket calls!

Alright so, the Lesser Angelwing sounds like an egg shaker and the Greater sounds like someone annoyingly tapping pen (sometimes)... Getting there and getting ready to hit the Bronx in search of crickets!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Matteson and Clark Expedition.

Due to Rain and Wind, the expedition will now take place Saturday, Sept. 12. We will meet in Dr. Clark's lab (Larkin Hall 370) at 7:15 to learn the cricket/katydid calls, then head across campus and to the zoo.

The Lewis and Clark expedition in the 1800's was famous for not only traversing the country from East to West, but of scientifically collecting and describing several new species (e.g., Clark's Nutcracker, Lewis Woodpecker). In a similar vein Kevin Matteson and J. Alan Clark will attempt to cross the Bronx and reach a suspected biodiversity hot spot known locally as The Bronx Zoo. Here they plan to rappel undergraduates down into what would appear to be from CIA satellite photos some sort of mini-African plains in the middle of the city! They suspect this could be a good place for crickets, but want undergraduates to go first to broaden their University experience. Inbetween the obligatory coffee stops to fortify their consitutions they will be seeking the Common True Katydid and its kin. Matteson and Clark have promised their patron, Fordham University, that they will, in exchange for tenure and a corner office, bring back new species and large NSF grants. At this point the M and C Expedition blogger is AWOL, but a blog has been created that once the blogger returns you can follow.