The Sportsman's Corner

The Big Noise

 

August 29, 2019

Early mornings during the spring are noisy. Both resident and migratory songbirds are singing to claim territories and to attract mates. This is not always melodious singing: There is much dissonance among the various singers. Among the least harmonious of the springtime songs are those of crows and wild turkey gobblers. Anyhow, with hundreds of types of birds singing each morning, there is a lot of noise in the springtime woods; and some of this noise lasts all day.

As spring eases into summer, fewer birds continue to holler each morning. Instead, mornings become much quieter. By August, only a few birds sound off at daybreak.

Presently, evening drives around the Cove allow people to admire the lush growth of summer plants. Gone are the showy blooms of spring, such as redbud and dame's rocket. Instead, late summer flowers are more modest. Joe Pye weed, jewelweed, and chicory are bland compared to many flowers of spring. However, the bright yellow splotches of black-eyed Susans attract the attention of even casual observers.


If one's evening drive extends into the darkness, he will notice that the birds' morning aria has been replaced by an evening chorus of insects. The most noticeable of these are the songs of field crickets, snowy tree crickets, and katydids. This "singing" is not harmonious, especially since the tree crickets and katydids seem to try to outdo each other in the amount of noise they can make. On the occasional evening fishing adventures I make during late August and early September, I cannot help but notice the insects' evening racket. For the lack of a better term, I call this insect singing "the big noise." When I am finished with an evening of fishing, I sometimes sit on the tailgate of my aging Ford Ranger and sip a bottle of icy water as the bugs advertise their presence to each other.

Although the evening chorus of insects sounds to me like the sound track of a science fiction movie, Donna thinks the songs of the bugs help her to relax. "The chirping of the crickets and the continuous 'katy did' of the katydids are actually soothing. Before we were married and I went to bed on summer nights, I think the songs of these insects helped lull me to sleep. I think it was the repetitive nature of their songs that helped me to doze off."

No matter whether you think the night-time chorus of insects is spooky or soothing, you must acknowledge that this chorus is "the big noise" of late summer.

 

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