The Sounds of Summer

The recent soundtrack of summer at Booyong has been the wonderful sound of the cicadas, they’ve been the loudest this year. It’s unknown why they emerge in large numbers some years but possible factors include temperature and rain. They are one of the loudest insects in the world and their singing can reach 120 decibels. Only the males sing to attract their mate and they sing in large groups to repel birds. As you walk through the property you can hear the choruses, it’s beautiful!

This would explain why when visiting recently we saw very few of the small wrens and finch’s in the cabin garden. Their absence was noticeable as they are one of my favourite features.  I love watching them frolic in the garden and birdbath and expect them to return when the cicadas disappear after Christmas.

They have incredible names and Australia’s loudest cicada is called the Double Drummer. This picture to your left by David Emery shows some well-known Australian species and if you are in Sydney you can report Cicada sightings to The Great Cicada Blitz (Sydney, AUS).

Australian cicadas spend 6-7 years underground (depending on the species) and live as nymphs, tunneling and feeding until they emerge and climb the nearest tree where they shed their exoskeleton. They have a very short life span once they emerge and within a few weeks they mate and then die.

An amazing Youtube video showing this shredding process can be found:

Many Aussie kids have fond memories of searching for cicada shells during Summer. One family actually gathered discarded cicada shells and placed them on fairy lights on the Christmas tree, I imagine that would look amazing.