Thursday, 14 July 2011

Cricket Highs

A sunny, warm day saw the volunteers working out on the eastern shore of Ibsley Water, inevitably "ragworting". The grass was alive with grasshoppers, all meadow grasshopper as far as I could see. There were also lots of Roesel's bush-cricket, although this depended upon who you asked. A couple were seen, including one that would have made a good picture, if I had got the camera with me. So, there were two seen, but there were lots calling, but only some of us could hear them. To the youngest present the calls were really loud, but some of the older could not hear them at all. Interestingly those in the middle and most of the women present could hear them alright, although not all as very loud. The calls are in the range at the top of our frequency range for hearing, but more than this they seem to cover a range so that the young can hear a large amount of the call and the amount audible reduces as hearing deteriorates, until it is all outside our range altogether.
I am pleased to say I can still hear them, although nothing like as well as I used to be able to. I remember hearing them as I was driving around the M25 some twenty years ago and the calls were loud even above the traffic noise. At this time they were just breaking out from their stronghold around the Thames estuary. They seemed to use the motorway embankments, the long grass is ideal for them, as dispersal routes and now they are all over southern England. Curiously the Thames population spread, the small localised population that had long been around the Beaulieu estuary seems to have remained that way, although now they are joined up to the rest.
I saw or heard of few birds of note today, a common sandpiper was on Ibsley Water and
a bar-tailed godwit was reported, although I suspect it may have been one of the very red male Icelandic black-tailed godwit that have been present for some days. The ringers were in again this morning and caught sedge warbler and whitethroat, both will be migrants as neither breed on the reserve.

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