Howzat for an unusual creature
PUBLISHED: 12:53 22 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:15 28 May 2010
Seeing a swallow or a house martin now is like getting a final fix of summer sunshine. Like the occasional periods of warm, sunny weather that occur in late September, I recommend you make the most of it. It is easy to become complacent about the wildlife
Seeing a swallow or a house martin now is like getting a final fix of summer sunshine. Like the occasional periods of warm, sunny weather that occur in late September, I recommend you make the most of it.
It is easy to become complacent about the wildlife of a particular season, especially when you are seeing the same things every day. Nothing in nature is forever though, and it will be many days before our skies are once again full of these insect-eating birds.
Make a pledge to really study the plumage of a fieldfare, watch the way a squirrel climbs a tree and to take the time to enjoy the morning dustings of frost on trees this winter.
The last of the grasshoppers will be chirping in the remaining areas of long grass and uncut meadows now. Each one has its own distinctive sound, but these will grow quieter with each step towards winter. I've enjoyed many happy hours enjoying our local crickets and grasshoppers in late summer.
There are about a dozen species to be found within the Fenland area and the most impressive is the great green bush cricket. This is a southern species whose range comes close to its northernmost limit in the old county of Huntingdonshire.
It is a huge insect and when I saw my first one hanging on to a thistle with its huge legs last month, I was genuinely taken aback. They almost look as if they belong in some tropical climate. Their 'song' is so loud too and can be heard from a good 100 yards or more away. The thistle-infested field I visited contained about 20-30 and even on that evening of strong winds, the sound was almost deafening.
We do have many amazing creatures, such as the great green bush cricket, that just aren't that well known. I'm sure many more people would have an interest in wildlife if they could come into contact with them.
Birds are very visible to everyone, as are butterflies, but moths, grasshoppers, crickets and animals (and we have some amazing representatives of each of these groups) are much harder to see on a regular basis.
I imagine this is one of the reasons birdwatching is so popular when compared with other forms of natural history. Birds are everywhere right throughout the year to delight us with their colours, songs and antics.