Skip to main content

Leap Day leapers!

Being that it's Leap Year, which only rolls around every four years, I figured that I'd better do something saltatorial. And as today is Leap Day, the time is now. So here for your viewing pleasure are some extraordinary leapers.

A bold jumping spider, Phidippus audax, perches atop the mountain of disk flowers that forms the cone of a gray-headed coneflower. The spider was stalking pollinator prey. When a victim bumbles into range, the spider will pounce like an eight-legged leopard. Photographed October 8, 2013 in Franklin County, Ohio.

While at ease in this image, eastern fence lizards, Sceloporus undulatus, can explode to life in the blink of an eye. Their speedy bursts can include impressive leaps. Photographed on April 7, 2012 in Adams County, Ohio.

A glance at the impressive legs of this curve-tailed bush katydid, Scudderia curvicaudata, gives away its common mode of locomotion. When at ease, the animal stalks about slowly and mechanically. If a threat looms, it springs to life and out of the danger zone with impressively long leaps. Photographed September 7, 2014 in Adams County, Ohio.

Grasshoppers are well known for their jumping ability, and this differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis, is not an exception. Grasshoppers have thickened powerful hindlegs - fabulous springboards for their impressive leaps. Photographed in Adams County, Ohio on September 7, 2013.

I do not believe any of our amphibians can hurdle along with the jumping ability of a northern leopard frog, Lithobates pipiens. One doesn't even need a good look at the animal - the spectacularly fast and lengthy jumps as the frog flees is all it takes to cinch the identification. Photographed on May 19, 2012 in northern Michigan's Presque Isle County.

Tiny leafhoppers are capable of extraordinary leaps proportionate to their size. When they go, it's as if the bug was strapped to an ejection seat. This one (species unknown [to me]) was photographed on September 20, 2014 in Adams County, Ohio.

Lastly, the feisty red squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus. These helter-skelter beasts are prone to racing around maniacally, and their antics often include jaw-dropping leaps made at death-defying speed. This animal was imaged in Presque Isle County, Michigan on May 17, 2013.


Lisa Greenbow said…
This post is so uplifting. I am so ready to see all of these leapers bounding about the garden this year. Happy leap year to you too.

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Snowy owl photography tactics - and things NOT to do

A gorgeous juvenile female snowy owl briefly catches your narrator with its piercing gaze. It's doing its Linda Blair/Exorcist trick - twisting its head 180 degrees to look straight behind. Owls have 14 neck vertebrae - double our number - which allows them such flexibility.

These visitors from the high arctic have irrupted big time into Ohio and adjacent regions, with new birds coming to light nearly every day. Probably 80 or so have thus far been reported in the state, and some of them have stuck around favored spots and become local celebrities.

I went to visit one of these birds this morning - the animal above, which was found last Friday by Doug Overacker and Julie Karlson at C.J. Brown Reservoir near Springfield. In the four days since its discovery, many people have visited as is nearly always the case when one of these white wonders appears near a large population center or is otherwise very accessible.

And as is always the case, people want to photograph the owls. And th…