Sometimes, if the light's just right, and I happen to be looking the right way, I see one land. Sometimes I even manage to focus the camera on the precise patch of gravel he has hidden on, zooming in from a distance. Rarely can I find him in the resulting photo.
Yesterday afternoon, one made a mistake; she landed on the rail instead of the surrounding rocks.
|The merest hint of a pattern in mottled greys.|
I got two photos, but when I leaned forward for a third, she took off again. This time, I couldn't see where she landed at all.
Compare her colouring to the rocks nearby, the ones she finally hid herself among:
|The same blue-greys and palest browns as the rocks. Even her eyes match.|
I also saw a smaller, more colourful hopper on those same rocks. I saw him land; I could not find him, staring straight at the spot where I knew he was sitting. And I think I have sharp eyes. Amazing!
Update: David Ferguson, at BugGuide, has identified her as a female Carolina grasshopper, Dissosteira carolina. There's a photo of the black and *cream wing pattern here.