Life and death in the meadow

I went for a short walk around the parkland at Parke yesterday after work in the evening sunshine. The grassland was alive with long-winged coneheads – it has a been a really good year for this bush cricket – they were ‘singing’ everywhere.

Longwinged conehead
Here is a male long-winged conehead

 And here is a recording of their song captured through a bat detector – which enables their very high pitched noises to become audible (recorded earlier in the week in a glade at Hembury Woods).


Wasp spiderOne of the main predators of coneheads and other grasshoppers – the wasp spider are also common too. You can see a female long-winged cone head in this picture which has been caught in the spider’s web and then wrapped up for consumption later….

Reminds me a bit of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings or was it Harry Potter?

It’s August so its grasshoppers and bush cricket time

When it comes to sunny days in August I like to go out and look for bush crickets and grasshoppers (I’m the county recorder for Orthoptera i.e. bush crickets, grasshoppers etc.). I always take a bat detector with me so I can hear their high pitched songs which help identify animals to species. Without the bat detector I can’t hear their songs!

Bat detector
My Batbox Duet detector

Roesel’s bush cricket – first recorded in Devon last summer by Karim Vahed – photo by K Bellis – a very distinctive song: like standing under high power electricity cables in the rain! Lets hope I can find some more today!

Long-winged  conehead 1The long winged cone head – sounds like a little tractor chugging along. Now very common in long grass in Devon – only arrived here a few decades ago. Should find lots of these today.

Wonder what else might turn up!