The Wonder of Stridulating Orthoptera in Summer Meadows


Here in the UK, it may surprise you to learn that we have 5 species of ‘true’ cricket, 13 species of bush-cricket, and the mole-cricket. There are also 11 species of grasshopper. Crickets and grasshoppers are related species and belong to the orthoptera order.

How grasshoppers and crickets sing

The chirring sounds of grasshoppers and chirping sounds of crickets are within the range of human hearing and are part of the orchestral sound of summer, woven with birdsong. Read more

Magic in the Meadow – Field Notes During the Making of a Wildlife Documentary

Magic in the Meadow – Field Notes During the Making of a Wildlife Documentary

Filming wildlife is both rewarding and challenging. To skilfully capture wildlife behaviour on camera in their habitat requires technical expertise and a great deal of patient observation. Occasionally the help of a field assistant is required who may have expertise of particular wildlife, or may be needed as an extra pair of eyes in the field. The first time I worked for Stephen de Vere in this role was for his second wildlife documentary: Return to the River: Diary of a Wildlife Cameraman

“An uncut meadow in June is perhaps one of
the most unsung wonders of the British countryside.
It is like a forest in miniature”

Stephen de Vere

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For the Love of Butterflies – A Poet Goes Wild Nearby

Red admiral butterfly

Guest post by Jonathan Bradley

Even though our beautiful butterflies are endangered by damage to our natural environment you can still enjoy their company, perhaps more than you think. They can give us lots of pleasure, and in my own case butterflies have caused me to write and publish a collection of poems inspired by them. It is called Papiliones, and the title means “butterflies” in Latin. You don’t need to be a scientist or environmental activist to feel passionate about butterflies. I am not an expert about the natural sciences, but I just love seeing them and writing about them. Read more

Jo’s Mini Meadow 3 – How Does Nature Come to be Regarded as Kith and Kin?

Male Orange-tip butterfly

On seeing soft pink apple blossoms in my mini orchard meadow open in warm spring sunshine, I am dreamily taken back to memories of my childhood.

Jo Cartmell
© 2015 Jo Cartmell

It was an idyllic, nature connected childhood which started as soon as I was able to walk, as you can see by the muddy fingerprints on my beautiful white dress which had doubtless been spotless when my mother had put it on me that morning. I was constantly playing with the mud, or sitting in the garden playing with woodlice, or watching butterflies and other wildlife that I found there. You can see that I was outdoors a great deal by my very tanned face! When I was about 5 years old, my father showed me a butterfly chrysalis in the garden shed and I was fascinated. Read more

Jo’s Mini Meadow 1 – How I Transformed My Lawn Into a Beautiful NearbyWild

Greater Knapweed

It is early spring and my mini wildflower meadow looks much like the other lawns in this suburban neighbourhood: short grass! But look closer and you can see the leaves of Cowslips, some with flower heads, Common Vetch, Betony, Self Heal, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Field Scabious, Oxeye Daisies, Common and Greater Knapweed and tiny Yellow Rattle seedlings. Read more