Searching for the Orthopteran Orchestra

, 17 September 2015
Searching for the Orthopteran Orchestra

Tonight's walk took us from Lewes to Glynde in search of one of Britain's biggest insects - the great green bush cricket.

After some of the downpours this week I was concerned about the weather but I had appeared to have arranged the walk to coincide with a few hours of sunshine. The group met on Cliffe High Street in the early evening and we hiked up Chapel Hill finding roosting chalkhill blues in the long grass. At the top of the hill we heard the maraca-like rattle of the great green bush cricket. The song of the cricket is not audible to everyone but, with the use of a bat detector, I was able to convert these high frequency sounds into a noise we could all hear. However finding the musicians behind the song proved tricky. The crickets are highly camouflaged and seemed to be singing from within the bushes. We sent in our best (and youngest) ears to try and locate them in the undergrowth but we still couldn't find any.

In the long grass of our Southerham reserve we found other crickets including the long-winged conehead as well as Carthusian snails and a monster fox moth.

The flower rich banks of Southerham were past their best but late season nectar and colour was provided by round-headed rampions, Devil's-bit scabious and autumn lady's tresses orchids.

With the sun setting we headed up through Oxteddle Bottom and Caburn Bottom and on to Glynde where swallows heading into roost were being hassled by a hobby and a sparrowhawk.

Thanks to everyone who came along.

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