American Bird Grasshopper

Large, colorful, grasshopper
American Bird Grasshopper, Schistocerca americana
Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens, NY, 2007-10-20

Steve Nanz found and later ID’d this monster yesterday at Ridgewood Reservoir. It’s one of the largest grasshoppers in North America. When spooked, it flies into a nearby tree, hence the name. It’s uncommon to rare this far north. Neither Steve nor I had ever seen one before. It seems to be more of a southern species. Possibly like yesterday’s Red-banded Hairstreak, global warming may be pushing its range north.

Other insect species at the reservoir yesterday included Green Darner dragonflies and Orange Sulphur and Monarch butterflies, though it’s starting to get a little late in the season for our six-legged friends. Avian species included:

  • Common Loon
  • Northern Harrier
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Merlin
  • Herring Gull
  • Mourning Dove
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Blue Jay
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Carolina Wren
  • Winter Wren
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • American Robin
  • Gray Catbird
  • European Starling
  • Northern Parula
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • American Redstart
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Field Sparrow
  • Vesper Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • Purple Finch
  • Wood Thrush
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • American Woodcock

Sparrows were especially common. There were hundreds of White-throated Sparrows and dozens each of Song and Swamp Sparrows. Also both groups found Woodcocks yesterday. The North 40 at Floyd Bennett Field is probably still the best woodcock habitat in the city, but Ridgewood Reservoir is starting to feel like a close second.

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