The two walks were held on Wednesday, 14th August and Sunday, 18th August, the first day there were seven people and on the Sunday only one person turned up. The weather was bright and warm on both days and so the insects were not hard to see, although the Wednesday was rather windy.
Long-winged Conehead – Macropterous (extra long-winged) form
On the Wednesday the Long-winged Coneheads were plentiful and seem to have taken over most of the site and were not restricted to a few areas as they had been in the past. There were individuals of all ages, from quite early instar nymphs to fully mature adults. Many of the ones found were of the extra long-winged, macropterous, form, which is normally associated with dense populations of the insect. These are the more mobile form that it is thought spread out to colonise new areas. Also found in large numbers were Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers, which were found in a variety of colour forms. The Field Grasshoppers were much harder to find than they have been in the past, possibly due to competition with the other two orthopterans. Roesel’s Bush Cricket was not found, possibly because the blustery weather made it hard to hear, and no Slender Groundhoppers were found when we looked by the Small Gravel Pit.
On the Sunday, as there were only two of us, we decided to see what we could find on the dry end of the Slurry Lagoon. We found plenty of Long-winged Coneheads and Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers as we made our way to the Slurry Lagoon gate. Once on the slurry surface we found the missing Field Grasshoppers amongst the sparse vegetation.
Whilst looking for them we also discovered Common Groundhoppers, which were in good numbers but extremely hard to see. All sorts of colour forms and patterns were represented, but they were difficult to photograph as they kept jumping and disappearing. We again looked without success for Slender Groundhoppers by the Small Gravel Pit, but were luckier with Roesel’s Bush Crickets, which were singing along the banks of the Deep Pit.