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The Hopefully Somewhat Coherent End of Night NYC Metropolitan Cricket Crawl Report
13 September 2009
Team Cricket Ė 5:00 a.m. or so
Observer Data Telephone Calls : Over 80 calls with site data (some with more than 1 record attached). Most of the site data from these calls have been entered and are mapped along with their sound files.
Observer Text and Email Messages : This method seemed to be favored by most groups. We are still merrily entering these data with over 80 additional sites entered and our guess is that there are another 120 or so sites yet to enter.
Expeditions. All expeditions appear to have been embarked upon. However, only the data from the Cricketeers have been entered. Consequently, expedition data also needs to be entered into the database and that will likely yield another 50 or more sites.
Estimated Total Number of Sites Surveyed : Approximately 330.
Estimated Total Number of Species Records : Approximately 700.
Count to Continue - We Want you to Continue
Given that crickets and katydids do not sing on only one night, we have decided that it would be great to extend the counting period to the remainder of the season. So if you have the time and the inclination, bone back up on your songs (and read some of the issues about identifications below) and use the same instructions as last time. There is only one change, don't use the drop, use this email address, email@example.com. So that way we can personally thank you for sending in your data and you will know that we have received it. We have reposted the instructions with the Yahoo email in it. Someone mentioned that they prepare draft emails to the Cricket Crawl accounts in advance so they just have to fill in a few things in the field and then hit send when in the field...we thought that to be clever.
Common True Katydid - The results for this species were perhaps the most exciting. Not because the other species are boring, but simply because 100 years ago they were thought to be absent and now they have returned. There is a nice story emerging from both the data you collected and the observations of a handful of naturalists who had noted these species already. Thanks to Paul Lederer and company we have learned that Common True Katydids were indeed absent on Staten Island until just a few years ago when they found a few colonies. On count night, quite a number of those were documented and we hope that more will be found. An interesting pattern emerged that these colonies have occurred more in suburban areas rather than parklands and the Staten Island naturalists' impression is that perhaps they have come in via eggs laid on nursery stock. They also think that they have a different "accent" than off-island colonies which again could support the notion that they came from out of state (Common True Katydids really do have different accents in different parts of the country).
Manhattan was another nice surprise. At this moment the distribution is either along the edges of the island in small plots of woods or the upper "wilder" part of Central Park and a couple of interesting spots in the city. Check out, in particular, the one at 320 W 19th which has an actual recording of the species with it. Prospect Park in Brooklyn and the Botanical Garden in the Bronx both have nice colonies in their residual forests. Further, further out they become more common as both the amount of parkland expands and they become less isolated from the large numbers of this species that inhabit the forests of the Northeast. In the continuation of this year's survey it will be particularly good to survey some of the other forest pockets left in all parts of the City and document both the presence and absence of the the species (zero data is just as valuable as positive data). We hope to concentrate a bit more on this species over the next year and develop detailed information about the abundance of this species....this would be a good project for a Master's student ...any takers?
Forktailed Bush Katydid - Here was an interesting find. It turns out that when we started the survey we were unaware that the Treetop Bush Katydid would also be possibly in the area. This species looks different from the Forktailed, but calls the same. However, while Forktaileds live in brush and tall weeds, Treetops follow their name and occur only in the very tops of conifer trees. The Fordham team mentioned finding a Forktail in the top of a tall spruce in the Bronx Zoo and we had an ahah moment! So, if any of you had Forktails calling from conifers let us know so we can switch the data around.
Fall Field Cricket and Jumping Bush Cricket - Both were found to be common and nearly ubiquitous. The Fall Field Cricket seems to tolerate the "worst" conditions of any of the species and can be found in most industrial and city areas. The Jumping Bush Cricket loves bushes and was found in plantings and hedges throughout the city. People often had some difficulty learning the difference between the two in the field....just remember that there are longggg pauses between Jumping Bush Cricket calls (and they have have a longer peep when they do call) and that Field Crickets have a more rapid succession of chirps with the pause being about the same length as the chirp (the chirp is also sharper and more metallic).
Greater and Lesser Anglewings - Note some people appear to have switched the names of Greater and Lesser Anglewings in their minds...the Greater is the one that has the series of 'tics' (like a bike derailleur) while the Lesser has the shushes which are a bit reminiscent of the Common True. Let us know if you have mixed them up so we can fix that. The Greater was by far the most common katydid in the region. Any large shade tree in any location could have this species and we will be posting a series of pictures and sound files that some of you took. The Lesser is more enigmatic. In the Washington D.C. area this species is dirt common, exceeding by far the populations of Greater Anglewings and also occurring commonly in shade trees with the Greater Anglewing. It would be interesting to compare data from other regions.
Oblong-winged Katydid - Perhaps the least common species. It appears to not call as regularly as the other species and be a specialist of understories of relatively intact forests and forest edges. There are a few records in interior city areas that we feel could be misidentifications so some of you that had this species away from forest might want to review the calls again.
Other Species - Other folks noted additional species such as Snowy Tree Cricket, Broad-winged Tree Crickets, Other Tree Crickets (difficult to ID by sound only), Carolina Ground Crickets (the very fast trill in the grass and lawns), other unidentified ground crickets, coneheads (very cool species that actually have coneheads and mostly live in long grass). Note that Sam Droege was fairly certain there were Japanese Burrowing Crickets (a species introduced in the South) in Central Park. So keep your ears open for this species and see if you can get a specimen or picture to document its presence.
Sound Files : If you would like to download any or all of the sound files of the phone calls from the field or some of the field recordings you can do so at the following two
Data Entry : Data entry started slowly as we ran into an unexpected file transfer problem. However, teamwork between John Hudak and John Pickering solved that problem. However, this delay meant that we were not able to take advantage of the help of outside data entry volunteers as much as we had originally anticipated. We learned a lot about using Macs too and had plenty of other problem solving opportunities throughout the night. This process can certainly be streamlined in the future.
Number of Naked People Reported : Three were reported, but since they werenít on the data sheet more may have been spotted but gone unreported.
Blogs : Second-hand reports indicate that these appear to have been successful with a good diversity of reporting and interactions among participants Ö but since we have been spending our time entering data we havenít actually read them.
Headquarters : It was very nice having a diverse group of people at Headquarters and we greatly appreciate the teamwork that developed here and all the late night work that went into data entry.
Pictures, Sounds Files, U-Tube, Video were all sent in and will be uploaded and presented a bit later since there isnít any time at this moment.
We will be updating the files and records over the coming couple of weeks and at some point will be asking people to double check sites and records so we can update those.
Tons of good stories in what was sent and will display that over the next few days.
Many thanks to all the wonderful observers! You were awesome.
Thanks also to Bonnie for supplying the Cricket Cookies!
We are sure that we are missing things and acknowledgements so our apologies in advance.
P.S. We are continuing to enter data....so you should see your records soon...
A flat file with $ delimited data is available here and will be refreshed every 10-15 minutes throughout the 12-14th and then once a day thereafter. Simply use CTRL-S to save or the "save page as" function on your bowser and the import it into Excel or whatever program you please. Please download and use/evaluate/play with the data it can be used for any purpose. Contact Sam Droege (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have additional questions. If you want in on using the data or presenting your own work, the let us know and we will work with you. You can contact Sam Droege at email@example.com with any ideas.
Dirge in the Woods
A wind sways the pines, And below Not a breath of wild air; Still as the mosses that glow On the flooring and over the lines Of the roots here and there. The pine-tree drops its dead; They are quiet, as under the sea. Overhead, overhead Rushes life in a race, As the clouds the clouds chase; And we go, And we drop like the fruits of the tree, Even we, Even so.
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