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
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”
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
During the blackberry season many small mammals enjoy feasting on them with obvious relish and use the bramble bush as a way of avoiding predators. It has been a privilege to encounter a water vole who tried to look around a blackberry laden bramble to see which clumsy wildlife photographer had made that noise? Read more
It is unfortunate that wasps and hornets have a reputation of being insects to be feared. They are Nature’s beneficial natural pesticides, so should be welcome in our gardens. Having photographed and filmed them many times, I now love to meet these characterful insects. Read more
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.
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
As spring warms, the air dances with insects in the new mini orchard meadow and its young apple trees which will soon begin to burst with ‘perfumed wildflowers and herbs and grasses’ (Meadowland – The Private Life of an English Field by John Lewis-Stempel) and apple blossom. Read more
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