Hopper Heaven

Welcome to Hopper Heaven, a paradise for those not wanted anywhere else. But is heaven not so far away? Read on….

I guess there has to be somewhere that they are not eradicated. Walking though the field at the farm was like I was a target and the artillery was flying. The grasshoppers, crickets, katydids and praying mantis were hopping, flying and springing all about, bouncing off me like bullets ricocheting against hard stone.

Sounds like a bad nightmare huh? But really, it was kind of fun. Sure I fished out a bee stuck in my hair thinking it was a grasshopper, only to have a handful of bee, but I was not stung, just startled, both me and the bee.

The bee went on its free and merry way. Not the guy above, my bee was a little too ticked off to stop for a snack.

This field does not get mowed or sprayed very often, like in the image above, and nature just does what nature does.

The hoppers are happy and content. They are much easier to photograph than the ones in my garden. Very similar to the dragonflies, where it is not a footrace to get one in view.  They kinda come to you and sit just a little longer.

The grass fields abut a rough area filled with rock. I often run across snakes here, but not today.

The rocks are great places for the butterflies to collect heat and bits of moisture.

The weeds are even pretty and unusual.

But just give a hopper some grass and he is a happy hopper. See him keeping an eye on me?  He makes a nice shadow of himself in the morning sun.

This guy was less impressed with my presence, but did oblige a few photos. And Grasshopper Heaven does have some pitfalls.

If you are squeamish, don’t watch this video. The grasshopper is still fighting to get away with more than half of him devoured. It makes you really glad you are not a grasshopper. This guy is literally off to Hopper Heaven.

Another pretty weed starting life all over again.

Now this guy looks mad. He was one that bounced off me too.

Why do they go into the praying form? This is a face only a mother could love.

I turned him over and blew him up where now he looks like a space alien. It is the same image as above, only upside down.

Another pretty field inhabitant.

This hopper is catching a few rays. Or you just might find a Buckeye bathing too.

The sun was pleasing the crowd.

And this Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus) looks to be posturing.

I hope you enjoyed a relaxing day on the farm. The hoppers certainly did. Please stop in on Green Apples for some high flying and a 7 foot high memorial to 911 made in Western New York.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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32 Responses to Hopper Heaven

  1. Donna says:

    I love the butterfly on the rock…and I love learning about the critters too in your posts. It is so much fun when the critters do come to you. Mine have been more patient and tolerant in my garden lately. I have some noce photos and surprises coming up as a result. I also give you a well deserved shout out in my anniversary post tomorrow…

  2. I love when nature does what nature does! Your captures of all the hoppers are outstanding! As many praying mantis as I have in my garden I have actually never watched them eat so this was a fascinating clip; a little gruesome but still very cool! Thanks for sharing your beautiful day at the farm.

  3. andrea says:

    I smiled when you said there should be a place where these creatures will not be eradicated! I related fully well with you for my last weekend’s activity was fully devoted appreciating these not very appreciated creatures. But until now i still wonder why i still haven’t seen a female praying mantis eating its mate, or the one you saw eating a grasshopper! But i was fascinated seeing a different color of a larva, which ate all the leaves on one caladium. I had the chance also of teaching my nephew and niece of the word ‘tanatosis’, the insects’ ability to play dead. I didn’t realize even the larva has that ability and i also cajoled them to touch them without being scared. I hope they will grow appreciating them more, not only the butterflies. Then when we returned them back to the caladium, my niece still watched it for fear the chicken nearby might eat it. She actually shooed them away many times.

  4. Bom says:

    I have a new respect for the praying mantis. I watched it eat the grasshopper all the way to the end when only the tips of the antennae were left. Then of course I had to go on and click on the Korean praying mantis vs grasshopper link at the end of the video. Fascinating! And, yes, your mantis head picture really does look like an alien.

  5. Alistair says:

    Wow, such a fascinating change from the pretty butterflies. The pictures of the grasshoppers are terrific.

  6. Christina says:

    I wondered what the praying mantis ate; now I know. I have lots in my garden too, but I haven’t taken such good photos, thanks for sharing them. Christina

  7. Gruesomely great video of the preying mantis doing what it does best. I love the shot of the hopper with the perfect shadow, the sharpness of the hopper and its grass perch is amazing.

  8. One says:

    Your hopper is very colorful compared to the ones I see. Great images! I had one huge one on my mammoth sunflower. My neighbor (a kid) caught it, removed the back legs and fed it to his chicken. I didn’t see it being severed nor consumed. Just as well.

  9. Lynn Rogers says:

    Looked like the praying mantis was eating a katydid by the look of the long thin antennae since grasshoppers have short knobby ones. Good capture (both you and the mantis.) LOL I have the hoppers that fly everywhere so it is a little like a mine field when I walk in the garden. Great post.

  10. Dear Donna, Terrific images! I seem to be seeing more grasshoppers in my garden this year, maybe because it is more overgrown than usual with all the rain. I am always happy when the praying mantis eat aphids — but your video puts me off them a bit. P. x

  11. Thank you to all for your kind words on the photos. It is not my video, but a 2009 clip from YouTube. It is just nature being nature. There are a lot worse images on TV of much bigger quarry.

  12. TufaGirl says:

    Really great photos of those hoppers up close and personal. I know we must not eradicate everything… but those insecticide commercials are so convincing.

  13. Don’t think I’ve seen such a salute to hoppers and praying mantis. Love the pink grass image. Is that the pink form of Bunny tails? Thanks for sharing.

  14. Laurrie says:

    Fascinating photos of the hoppers, but it’s the grasses I love. Grass seedheads are the divas of the late garden. They beg to be photographed and never take a bad shot! The nutsedge makes me shiver though, I hate that weed, and the seedheads look like a cluster of small weapons.

  15. HolleyGarden says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blown up picture of a praying mantis before. It does look a little like an alien! Yikes! What a lovely place this is. It does look like a bit of heaven. We usually have tons of grasshoppers, which we did earlier in the year, but most of them have left – I guess they couldn’t find enough to eat in the drought!

  16. linniew says:

    I loved the pink grass. And the many butterflies. That mantis is definitely a tiny space alien, definitely.

  17. kate says:

    What fabulous shots… I spent ever so long crawling around my meadow in search of something like them but all I ever got was grass. Didn’t even see a single cricket. And my grass shots were out of focus, too (probably because I was laughing so much). Thanks for achieving these!

  18. I love it when you do bugs. I especially like the grasshopper keeping and eye on you, clearly he should have been watching the praying mantis. The grasshoppers fly out of the grass at me in Maine too. I think it is a sign of a healthy environment and a sad commentary on the condition of most of our land.

  19. dona says:

    Absolutely wonderful nature set.

  20. Masha says:

    You are so lucky to have a bit of wilderness to walk in. Your critter pictures are great, but I liked the weeds especially.

  21. Your hopper is gorgeous colored compared to his cousins here, which are all rather drab brownish. I love the Buckeye photograph, beautiful!

  22. Karen says:

    Donna, I enjoyed this post immensely. I was out mowing the field on my tractor the other day and the grasshoppers were pelting me from all directions, too. Amazing how they can withstand the impact, isn’t it? I’ve never seen a praying mantis up close and personal before, let alone having lunch! Fascinating.

  23. Joy says:

    Donna girl you are a brave soul (and a fantastic photographer!) I could never stand all that bouncing off of me .. I would run screaming and flaying my arms about like a total mad woman (not far off the mark anyways eh ? LOL)
    These are such detailed beautiful pictures .. we used to have a wee meadow to the back of our house but of course that is filled with houses now .. it never ends ..
    Great shots : )
    PS .. I am working up to watching the video wink wink

  24. tina says:

    You’ve actually managed to make the grasshoppers look beautiful. They’ve been very pesky this year in my garden. I did feel sympathy for the poor one who got eaten. Great video by the way. Loved your walk in the field. Such a unique system that you showcased.

  25. It certainly was Hopper Heaven in more ways than one. You captured all the detail of these interesting creatures. I love to see a praying mantis in my garden…makes me feel as if I have some help with the pests.

  26. Hi Donna, I came from One’s post in search of your Illuminate post, then I read that it is a fortnightly meme. I’ ll remember to link in next week. These bug photos are brilliant…you’ll have me looking for grasshoppers and such to photograph next. I’m only just getting hooked on butterflies!

  27. Wow, amazing shots of insects that we certainly don’t find around here. I remember giant grasshoppers, they lived on my Grandmothers farm in Alberta. Here by the ocean we don’t get that kind, or anything like them at all. Kind of makes me long for those days of walking through the unplowed, uncut fields like you did.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  28. thanks for taking us with you on your walk Donna, totally alien to me sooo different to the bugs here, lovely grasses, seedhead and flowers too, Frances

  29. Some beautiful photography Donna. Nature really is amazing and you have captured these garden dwellers beautifully! I enjoyed your post as always.

  30. Jennifer says:

    Grasshoppers are rather intriguing looking creatures. Like the Praying Mantis, there is something that seems “ancient” in their appearance.

  31. Marguerite says:

    I read this the other day but had no time to comment. Had to come back though because I just loved this post. I’m noticing so many grasshoppers in our yard lately. That sensation you describe as they jump, smack into you, the grasses and flowers swaying under their weight. Great descriptions, it reminded me to get out and walk in the yard again and enjoy the show like a child.

  32. Cathy says:

    We noticed more grasshoppers this year than usual too, but not anything that would cause a problem. We see a rare walking stick and praying mantis, wish we saw more. But because my vision is bad, I rarely see the details of their beautiful colors unless I happen to catch them in the viewfinder of my camera when I have a telephoto lens on. Thanks for letting me see these gorgeous beauties through your lens!

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