Sitting at the glass-topped patio table on the deck in the backyard, I suddenly found myself face to face with a cicada. At around 2 1/2 " long, it isn't the biggest insect around here - there are some huge dragonflies that come through the yard every now and then - but still, if one of these is hanging around for awhile and looking at you with its big brown puppy bug eyes, you will take notice.
Cicadas can be quite loud, possibly the loudest bugs on the planet. Back in Colorado, there are some years when there's a lot of them in the trees, singing their love songs, a particularly harsh and incessant grating buzz, non-stop day and night through the summer. Once I stopped for gas and a burger in a small town near the New Mexico border and there were so many cicadas in the elms, many thousands of them, that you had to yell to be heard over the noise they made. All the radios and TVs in town were turned way up, and maybe no one was getting enough sleep - these big bugs were driving everybody a bit crazy.
This is the first cicada I've seen in Oregon, but I don't usually go looking for them. As far as I can tell, although they live here, they haven't started doing any mating calls yet, which is just as well. Maybe these are silent cicadas. Then again, I don't know much about cicadas, beyond being able to recognize one. It seems that they have a very unique and complicated life cycle, but so do some of my friends. If you're at all interested, here's a great website, Cicada Mania, full of probably more information about cicadas then you'll ever need to know. Who knows, maybe someday you'll be at a party, and the person of your dreams will walk up and want to talk about cicadas.
One thing's for sure - a cicada is a very well behaved bug. This one seemed happy to just hang around, and let me take a few pictures. It even calmly walked onto a piece of white paper and stood nice and still - the perfect photographer's model. Mr (or is it Mrs?) Cicada didn't make a big fuss or get terribly excited, and thankfully, didn't want to latch on to my neck and start sucking my blood, like some bugs I can think of. Possibly it had recently gotten out of its chrysalis, or whatever its previous metamorphic state is called, and wanted to simply sit still for awhile, getting used to its new body. After a while, it quietly opened up its wings and flew away. Kind of an interesting few minutes, sitting next to a big grey cicada on a warm summer evening.
If you want to see this big bug even bigger, click or tap on any image above. All pictures taken with a Lumix ZS-25.