We have been staying in Indiana, across the river from Louisville, in Charlestown State Park for just over a week and have had the entire 2339 acre park almost entirely to ourselves the whole time (aside from those using the boat ramp daily). This weekend there were a few people who stayed a couple of days, all quiet and in bed by 9 like usual, but now that it’s the weekdays, we’re Alone at last!!
This park is great. Hilly for some difficult bike rides (which we’ve been taking advantage of daily), riddled with wildlife like wild Turkeys, tree frogs, toads, friendly raccoons, possums, rabbits, all the usual southern birds like cardinals and blue jays (and supposedly 58 other species) – and a selection of insects as big as anyone could ever want.
The cicadas click and chirp a consistent song day and night while giant leaf shaped grasshoppers jump at you and thumbnail sized horse-flies buzz around you, aching for a taste of your flesh. On one of our bike rides we saw the elusive and quick footed Cow Killer, a kind of a wingless wasp also called a Velvet Ant – and came across several giant dragonflies who swerved in front of our bikes, going well over 20, and turning on a pin just before you get a mouthful.
I am a huge mammal person usually but ever since we’ve been traveling I’ve seen so many amazing insects that I’ve become a bit obsessed with how strange and awesome they are. Such a huge variety. and such an incredible pain in the butt to photograph.
Last weekend we spent our Saturday hiking in Hoosier National Forest and saw tiny yet demented looking orb weaver spiders, another cow killer and a huge (sadly dead) moth/butterfly in pale green with kite like tails on its wings.
When you hang out outside and hike as often as we do, you just tend to see a much larger ratio of insects to mammals and birds so naturally you start to pay attention.
Here are some of the most recent beasties from Indiana: