Category Archives for // insects
October 4, 2017

A Closer Look

There is another, hidden side of the Chico Basin Ranch that you have to get down on your knees to see.

August 5, 2017

Grasshopper Walk

Twelve people joined Saturday’s grasshopper field trip sponsored by Chico Basin Ranch and the Mile High Bug Club. Participants were able to see way more insects than just grasshoppers and the three young girls present seemed impressed by the two preying mantises, a black widow spider, and of course the colorful grasshoppers, including ones called barber-pole, dinosaur, great crested, ebony, plus more than 30 other species.

Continue Reading

July 25, 2017

Insect Bird Food

The majority of the over 10,000 bird species on planet Earth feed their young insects.  The flush of insects in the summer months in temperate North America is the reason migratory birds leave their home in the tropics and subtropics to fly north to breed.  Tons of food is available for their young. This week is National Moth Week and Chico Basin Ranch along with the Mile High Bug Club hosted the first moth night at Bell Grove.  Thirteen enthusiastic

Continue Reading

April 29, 2017

Bird Food: Tiger Beetles

Unobserved by most humans, but not to birds who forage on the ground, tiger beetles are beginning to emerge from burrows.  Some tiger beetles live two years spending their first adult year in burrows during winter months.  Many tiger beetle species feed on ants.  This one is appropriately named Cow Path Tiger Beetle (Cicindela purpurea) and are quick to take flight often landing in grassy areas. This is the first time I have seen this species on The Chico.  They

Continue Reading

October 14, 2016

Bird Grasshopper

Bird grasshoppers like this Spotted Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca lineata) are large (2.5 inches) and can fly a long way which might be why they are referred to as “bird grasshoppers”.  They are still alive even after a couple cold nights and are easily found in the fields behind the banding station where the Russian olives have been hydroaxed but apparently not found in Chico native grassland habitats.  There are 10 species in the U.S. but the common one in Asia,

Continue Reading

August 15, 2016

Green Fool

One of the primitive appearing grasshoppers is called Green Fool Grasshopper.  It is found in rolling sandy hills with little vegetation so the creek bed of Black Squirrel Creek is a good place to look for this uncommon species. Most striped slantfaced grasshoppers, of which this is one, feed on grasses but this species specializes on broad-leafed plants in the Borage Family such as the cryptantha, stickseeds and stoneseeds. In the northern parts of its range, Green Fool Grasshopper is

Continue Reading

August 9, 2016

Grasshopper Field Trip

The local Mile High Bug Club visited Chico on Saturday to learn more about the amazing diversity of grasshoppers found here.  Grasshoppers are part of the order, Orthoptera, which also include katydids and crickets.  Chico’s microhabitats provides the perfect place to study these interesting insects. The huge Plains Lubbers were recently emerged and the sandy wash at Black Squirrel Creek gave the 10 participants a chance to get to see egg-laying, mating, feeding and resting grasshoppers.  Did I mention our

Continue Reading

July 16, 2016

Dragonfly Walk: Saturday, July 23rd

The annual Chico Dragonfly Walk will begin at the Chico headquarters beginning at 0900 on Saturday, 23 July.  Long pants, long-sleeved shirt, a hat and plenty of water is highly recommended (fee). It will be hot. We will visit May Camp Pond and its wetland outflow, Chico Creek, and the large pond at Chico’s headquarters area.  Last year the group recorded 32 species of damselflies and dragonflies making it probably the best single area location for the diversity of this

Continue Reading

July 14, 2016

Colorful Chico Grasshopper

This is a bush-loving species, but so far I would call it rare on Chico.  In fact, I didn’t see it until I opened my car door at home and out it jumped.  One of its names is Western Grass-green Grasshopper or better yet, Showy Grasshopper.  Not too hard to look at. Most of the Chico species eat grass but the most numerous species are found in the Russian thistle and other members of the Chenopodiace or Goosefoot family that

Continue Reading

July 14, 2016


During hot summer days when birds are scarce, a little exploration on Chico will reveal many grasshopper species.  This one inch guy was in the grasslands in the sand and its is appropriately named Four-spotted Grasshopper. This one is the only one I have ever seen. Females are black-and-white. Some grasshoppers are a challenge to photograph but if it was easy it wouldn’t be as much fun. I will lead a grasshopper field trip with Mile High Bug Club scheduled

Continue Reading