When I was a little kid, I had a small insect field guide. In that guide was a photo of the red-eye periodical cicada (Magicicada spp). Plying the alleyways and infrequent parks of Jersey City, NJ I never did see one. When I turned 14, we moved to the ‘burbs. Carteret, NJ. Seemed like the country to my brother and I. Much more green and more opportunities to check off more insects in my field guide!
When I was 15, I finally met the periodical Cicada! Some Brood II specimens emerged in my parent backyard. I was thrilled to finally see them. The population was small. None of the loud chorusing you hear where there are huge, dense populations.
Not everyone was so excited. I was talking with my friend Brian. A magicicada landed near his feet on my patio. He lifted his foot to stomp on it.
“OMG no,” I screamed and pushed him away. I told him of it’s long, dark life sucking juice out of roots for 17 years and it’s short weeks in the sun, singing to find a mate. I gently picked up the cicada and tossed it into the air. It took flight in a gentle upward arc, the sunlight shimmered upon it’s gossamer wings. Then a bird swooped down and ate it. Ces’t la vie, eh?
Anyway I have seen a few broods in different states over the years and when I learned that Brood VII would be emerging south of Syracuse around Onondaga Hill, NY, I knew I’d have to make the trip. I first tried on a vacant lot but was chased away by local residents. I then contacted Saul, owner of Griffin Hill Brewery as I has seen a story about Cicadas on his property.
Saul was incredibly gracious –I spent a few hours wandering his property photographing this most intriguing insect.
Before I left a shot a few family portraits and bought some beer which I have yet to imbibe.
A most worthy odyssey.