Sunrise 60: Ault Park (Dying Oak, Annual Cicada Macro, Dense Summer Fog)
After about an hour beyond sunrise, the fog has receded but is still visible a few hundred yards away.
Final shot of the cicada from the side. I tried to capture the dark rich green color of the body.
This morning made me have the realization that I need to start thinking of Cincinnati as a city with lots of fog. We are well into the summer month now and the morning sunrise fog shows no intentions of going away. Cincinnati does, after all, sit between the seven “hills” if you want to call them that. The fog this morning started off light but actually got more dense as the sun heated up the valley air. There were sheets of the fog blowing into the park from the Little Miami River Valley. For more pictures of the cicada, check out the bottom of this post. The lighting was perfect.
As I’m sitting in the overlook I notice the black spots on the nearby oak tree. I noticed them for the first time on Tuesday and hoped it wasn’t the result of fireworks damage. Today was the first time I looked up and realized that the old Oak was dying. The spots are where the bark has peeled away and revealed the black wood underneath. The squirrels were clamoring around and couldn’t help knocking off huge pieces of bark from the top of the tree. Makes me sad to see such a great tree die. I wonder how long until they chop it up?
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. More oak pictures, sunrise shots, and cicada macros coming up —>
I took a quick dip into the forest but decided I wasn’t up for any morning hiking. The forest is lush with green growth, that’s for sure. This year’s unseasonably high amount of rain has done wonders for the summer shade of the local deciduous forest.
Seeing as how the sunrise was taking its sweet time in the fog, I decided to perch atop the pavilion to get my head further up in the mist. The fog lapped across me in light puffy sheets. The fifteen feet height difference really made a difference.
As I’m sitting on the ledge taking a picture of the sun, I hear a loud WHIRRR whip by my face, followed by a loud thud/smack. I look over about ten feet from me and see a fresh young adult annual cicada. He was seriously stunned from his encounter with the wall and didn’t mind me taking pictures of him. I absolutely love the periodic cicadas. We were supposed to have another 7-year cicada this year, or so i thought, but they didn’t end up making an appearance. This cicada is an “annual” cicada because it has black eyes and a dark green body. The other cicadas are brownish with red eyes.
The cicada is one of my favorite insects because of how unique and visible its lifecycle is. You can see their shells all around the midwest, hanging to trees as they change into their adult stage before climbing out of the old exoskeleton. The species as a whole has adapted to basically having only one defense – numbers. They have no poison, hardly any kind of a jaw, and are basically clumsy flying reproductive machines. Their songs have been known to get complex and even include “phrases”, something that is fascinating to me. Healthy summers in the midwest are always marked by the constant background buzz of the annual (and periodic) cicadas.
I mustered up the courage and gently pushed my hand up against the cicada. He naturally backs away from (but didn’t try to fly) my finger, so I place my hand behind him so he backs up onto it. I know that a cicada can’t harm a human in any way, but they are so large that they still make me jump if they move too fast 🙂
See that little dot in the middle of the head? She actually had three of them. I learned they are called “oscellus” and they are actually “simple eyes” that most invertebrates have in addition to their real eyes. They just sense light and dark without direction. The wikipedia article is a good read.