John C writes:
Out for a late evening walk on Friday 30 July on the Roman Road near Crawley with bat detectors to look – listen – for bats and grasshoppers we heard a very loud clicking from the rough vegetation at the side of the track.
The clicking was very loud, and loudest with the bat detector set at about 25 kHz – well above the range of our hearing. After a few minutes of homing in and searching we found two Dark Bush Crickets sitting on the vegetation. It was quite dark but they looked like females, so the male which was clicking must have been nearby.
It was too dark to photograph them decently and the photo was taken near Charlbury the previous Sunday when we found one (a definite female) obligingly sitting on a stone noticeboard. The recording is also a slight cheat because we made it a week later near Asthall. The buzz which appears halfway through is a Grasshopper, species as yet unidentified but they all have their characteristics ‘songs’ and ID would be possible.
Having never knowingly seen a Dark Bush Cricket before we were surprised to find three in two weeks, and they seem to be quite common. It’s certainly worth roaming around the countryside with a bat detector at twilight – there’s a whole world coming alive, and not just bats.