[Tweeters] Chatter and Clack

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Aug 14 09:45:00 PDT 2016

Working at my job site at Cape George, outside of Port Townsend, this week has been interesting. It always is out there, nature-wise.

Doing my job one day, I was crawling around under some dense shrubbery to remove some of those snarky invasive plants, the English Holly. Nothing personal - I kind of like the plant itself - but it was growing up through other plants and was on the verge of taking over the territory.

Anyhoo, there I was , headfirst under the greenery, when I was addressed by a loud chatter nearby - a House Wren! I don''t speak wren, but it did seem like I was getting scolded. The next day I saw and heard two more in the yard, and the day after that, ran into a whole family of 'em - two adults and two youngsters, one of which brazenly gave me what for while perched on the ground nearby. Those wrens learn chatter at an early age.

It seemed a bit funny that these wrens showed up on the scene just lately - I've been working at the site for months now and hadn't noted them. I was gone to Everett for a week, and maybe they moved in then after me, the big weird animal, stopped invading their shrubbery. This week I've seen the crew daily.

The last few days the little troglodytes have infiltrated a pile of old junk wood that I was about to take to the dump, and now each time I walk by the pile, little wrens pop out of it and chatter at me. I guess the pile can stay there another month until the little guys leave town. It is interesting that House Wrens are migratory , while the Bewicks are homebody's.

So, while there has been a lot of chatter at the job lately, there has also has been clacking. Several years ago I posted about how how I was missing the sound of crepitation in Snohomish County despite having snooped about the place for several decades. Crepitation? Thats the clacking, crackling sound that some grasshoppers make when they fly. I grew up hearing that sound in various camping spots around the state and love the sound, but for some funny bunny reason, never heard it around Everett/Snohomish despite seeing many grasshoppers of various sorts over the years.

So this week at Cape George I was thrilled to hear crepitation at my job site ! Surrounded by dry fields, and featuring a large hot gravel parking lot, the place is grasshopper heaven right now. Big showy Carolina Grasshoppers (with large showy black wings edged with yellow) are the most numerous, and a few, but not all, were clacking - albeit somewhat faintly. Another species (a bit smaller and with the reverse coloration of wings - yellow with a dark edge) is a pretty loud crepitator. Just the sound for a hot summer day! At least in my little world.

Jeff Gibson

Port Townsend Wa

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