Buggin’ Fun

Buggin’ Fun” … that’s a new phrase that I’ve coined. It refers to how much fun it is to “go bugging” … that is, to go lookin’ for bugs and other neat stuff. Everybody does that, right? Or at least kids do that, right? Well, this kid definitely likes to go buggin’ … especially in midsummer, when insects of all sorts come into their own. Let me tell you about one such excursion:

Early one morning in mid-July, a friend and I visit a beautiful, dew-covered meadow on the edge of town. It is a lush habitat with abundant grass, goldenrod, milkweed, dogbane, and horse nettle, plus a woodland edge. And it’s chock-full of great critters (many of which are featured in the above video).

Our visit is brief. We spend maybe an hour in the meadow, before going our separate ways to run errands, sit in front of our computers, and deal with everyday things. But it is an hour well-spent. We enter into a magical world, a “bubble” of sorts, and see lots of amazing creatures. What a great way to begin our day! We vow to devote some time every morning to exploring new habitats and sharing in the fun!

How about you? When summer unfolds, do you go lookin’ for bugs and other neat things? Summer goes by quickly, and it’s very important to grasp the opportunity when the gettin’ is truly good. So get out there my friends, it’s time for buggin’ fun!

A Looking Glass

before we went to work today
we took some time for nature play

along a road not far from town
a field of dawning light we found

wading through the meadow’s dew
a magic world comes into view …

a spider’s web, on sparkling grass
what fun to be a looking glass

© Lang Elliott

Animals shown in video:

  • Garden Spider
  • Marsh Fly
  • Robber Fly
  • Hanging Fly
  • Green Darner Dragonfly
  • Ants Farming Aphids
  • Roesel’s Katydid
  • Linne’s Cicada
  • Dogbane Beetle
  • Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly
  • Tussock Moth Caterpillar
  • Colorado Potato Beetle (larvae)
  • Bumblebee (on Horse Nettle)
  • Snail
  • Below are the short poems featured in the video:

    A Note from Lang:

    portrait of Lang Elliott among maple leavesThe video is a new experiment … combining poetry with cinematography. I believe it should be called a “Cinépoem.” See my companion blog post for a more complete explanation: Nature Cinépoetry as Art. I do hope people like the approach because I hope to make a longer movie that interweaves poetry with nature footage, nature sounds, and human-created music.

    Please let me know what you think of the poems, and of my style of delivery.

    The video footage all came from one location, a field located at the edge of my hometown (Ithaca, NY). It is one of several of my “favorite” meadows, due to the diversity of creatures that I find there. The clips were all gathered in mid-summer, though during a number of different visits and over a two year period. I feel lucky if I get two or three high quality clips during a single visit. Sometimes I’m stymied and don’t get anything. And sometimes I walk away with a five or six excellent impressions. This meadow has given me a number of jewels and I look forward to many more visits, and lots more buggin’ fun!

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    Video Metadata
    Buggin' Fun
    Buggin' Fun

    An immersive video celebrating a variety of insects and other invertebrates that I discovered early one morning in a meadow not far from town. Brought to you by old-miracle.mystagingwebsite.com. Produced by Lang Elliott. Video, poetry and nature sound © Lang Elliott.

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    1. Amazing footage and nice poetry! Last night the the snowy tree crickets began singing in my yard. I took a closer look and a small shrub had three males, three females, and some youngsters. I love the summer insects! Thanks for all the inspiration over the years!

      • Snowy tree crickets already singing? My goodness … where do you live? I doubt I’ll hear one around here (upstate NY) for another couple of weeks, maybe longer. Although, last night, I think I did hear a continuous-trilling tree cricket singing in a distant shrub, along with lots of ground crickets in the grass. The singing insect season is definitely beginning!

        For those unfamiliar with the Snowy, check out our species page here: http://old-miracle.com/guides/our-insect-musicians/crickets/snowy-tree-cricket

        • I live near Boulder Colorado, and generally they seem to start chirping in our area about now. I am going to see if they can tell me the temperature using Dolbear’s Law. Thanks for the link!

          • Lucky you! I can’t wait to hear them again. I’ll also start working up my videos showing them singing; I’ve got a couple of splendid examples and plan to get more this season. Snowys are absolutely my favorite tree cricket!

            • And the online insect guide, by the way is AWESOME! A nice complement to your and Wil’s book.

    2. Lang, This is just incredible. I loved it and am going to watch it again and again. I have such a talented and inspiring brother. You truly have a wonderful gift for doing this kind of work.! Make another one just as fast as you can. Love, Jackie

    3. No exaggeration – I gasped with delight at the snail’s movements, the marsh fly covered with dew, and climbing Tussock Moth caterpillar (didn’t know they could do that…) and, of course, the beautiful Roesel’s Katydid. This video is absolutely gorgeous. How could anyone watch/listen and not want to run off to the nearest meadow?

      • Yes, these caterpillars apparently spin silk which is carried upward by the wind, sticking to limbs or leaves overhead. I suppose they test the attachment by giving it a pull from the ground, before climbing upward to higher (and better?) food sources.

        I have also observed the opposite … small caterpillars of a different species descending from the trees on silken threads. I presume they hatched up there and then decided to drop down to complete their growth. I actually know very little about this kind of thing, so maybe some “caterpillar expert” might be so kind as to chime in with more details?

    4. Well, don’t know that much about poetry, but I know for sure that footage is astonishing. A lot of work and care has been put into that, and I highly respect and admire it. What lens were you using?

    5. I cant watch your videos. All I Have is a black screen. HELP me please. Your descriptions is all I have. I Want to Have “BUGGIN FUN” Too!!!

        • Thanks for the Help Lang. Sorry to be such a Pain in the A**. I watched the vid. on the direct link you provided(WOW Im Impressed. The poetry is a great way to narrate the film.) But It still wont work on your site for me. Dont take too much time with me, get out and FILM.
          The wood Thrush Film is Truly A Polished gem. The sound and Quality are amazing. But one BIG problem. Im a Photographer, now you have me Shopping For video Recorders. I think Im gonna have to get a Second job. Thanks again Lang.

    6. Here I am, 74 years old and never knew the name of those dogbane beetles which my sister and I caught and released every summer along our front yard boundary which touched my grandfather’s huge hayfield at home in Leechburg, PA. The thistle, goldenrod, milkweed (which they always loved) and Queen Ann’s lace were great background for their beautiful neon-like colors. Your video was so realistic; could almost touch every bug—and the poetic verse, just perfect. So enjoyable, thank you.

      • I consider them the most colorful of our native beetles. They’re scarcely more than a quarter-inch long, but what beauties! If they were an inch or longer, they’d be selling them for top dollar in Japan, where kids pay a fortune for beetle pets (perhaps the modern equivalent of the days of old when the Japanese were totally in love with singing insects).

    7. Yes I do! While replenishing a thistle sock earlier this month, I watched an Assassin Bug take a small beetle! I could be right there with you.

      • Wish I could have videotaped that incident. I have a number of videos of Assassin Bugs, but nothing really exciting in terms of capturing prey. Same goes for Robber Flies … can’t wait to get one hanging from a perch while chewing on something delicious.

    8. I enjoyed this video and the poem was not only informative but delightful. Thank you for sharing. Most appreciated.

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