I started hearing (loud!) cicada calls in the woods this past weekend, and yesterday morning, I found my first cicada of the year!
This cool creature was moving sluggishly on the ground in the garden when I first saw it (perhaps it had recently emerged -- I found a discarded cicada casing in the same area this morning), and it soon began trying (in vain) to climb up a metal post in the garden's corner. I took pity on the little guy and moved it to a nearby tree trunk, where it immediately started climbing, looking much happier to be on a surface it could actually grip.
A kind and knowledgeable person on BugGuide.net helped me out by identifying this as a Lyric Cicada (Tibicen lyricen). These types of cicadas are not the 13- or 17-year periodical varieties that people get so excited about. (I remember when those cicadas emerged in Maryland a few years ago... talk about an intense experience!) The Tibicen larvae live for only a few years underground before emerging as adults, and their cycles are staggered, so you're likely to see the same species every year.
I think cicadas are super awesome, partially because they're so big and monstrous, but also because they're really quite beautiful. That's a nice shade of green on those wings, and if you look closely in the first two pictures (click to zoom in), you can see the three ocelli, small light-sensitive eyes, glimmering like orange jewels in the middle of this creature's forehead.
I hope I picked a good tree for you to live in, little creature! Yay, cicadas!
(P.S. I'm playing around with a new format for the blog, with bigger pictures, so do let me know if the pictures are TOO big!)