Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Birding Magic of Giant Water Bugs

It was a usual morning on Friday. Drive to Jean's work for 7:00 AM, then walk 10 minutes to my work and read until my 8:00 AM start. The stretch between our buildings is all pavement and box stores and I was somewhat surprised to find a Giant Water Bug in the parking area of a grocery store. This species of insect is frequently found under street lights and the large parking lot has quite a few light standards. Luckily for the bug, I found it before the tires of a car did.

I carried the bug on top of my book as I continued the short walk to work. Though the large legs can propel the insect through water, they are practically useless on dry land. It was too exhausted to fly, so it was not going anywhere. Once at work, I placed the bug in a suitable container for the day. All morning it lied motionless at the surface, but by the afternoon it began to move around and was ready for release back into its natural environment when Jean picked me up at the end of my work day. We took it to a nearby pond, the same pond Jean returned another Giant Water Bug in April of this year.

We bird this spot throughout the year and it seems that returning Giant Water Bugs to the pond adjacent to 12 Mile Creek brings some good ticks. In April, FOY Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Hermit Thrush were found.

This summer evening, we spotted an Osprey flying overhead and directly across from the spot I released the aquatic insect, stood a Black-crowned Night-Heron.

We soon observed a second Osprey as the first called out to it. Jean and I watched the raptors soar overhead and disappear from our view as they headed north towards Martindale Pond and Lake Ontario. A Northern Flicker on the opposite side of the creek finished the evening's observations. What will the magic of the next Lethocerus americanus reveal?

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