The Summer Solstice arrived at 6:07 a.m. in the Northern Hemisphere. When I rose to birdsong at 7:30 a.m. it was drizzling. By mid-morning the sunshine had broken through the clouds and I was beginning to think about where on my property I would like to begin my "Midsummer Project."
As the Solstice triggers the time of year we begin to lose daylight (barely noticeable, fractions of a second) I thought I might begin in the darkest corner of our yard - our woodland garden. I spent only three-quarters of an hour intentionally observing my surroundings and was delighted to discover diurnal black fireflies.
I selected an image I'd taken of our jack-in-the-pulpit so I might compare its green "unripe" berries to those crimson berries I hope to see in the autumn. I also discovered an ants' nest that piqued my interest...in fact, I'd believed I was witnessing the seed dispersal method known as myrmecochory. I found a nest - no larger in circumference than my lens cap - and at its peak appeared to be a cluster of jade-like berries. I made a number of photographs from differing angles but when I sat down to review my images I discovered what I had imagined to be a cluster of berries was instead, a mud-caked insect.
The insect - which I cannot positively identify - has the physical characteristics of a cicada that has been unearthed. Curiously though, it is significantly smaller than a cicada and seemingly encased in a sort of exoskeleton with bristle-like hairs protruding from it! It seems this project is off to a curious start...