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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Jo’s Mini Meadow 6 – Bring the Magic of the Wool Carder Bee and Leafcutter Bee Into Your Life and Your Garden

Wool carder bee

I am amazed to discover there are over 270 bee species in Britain and Ireland and that bumblebees and honey bees only account for about one tenth of that figure. The wool carder and the leafcutter bees belong to the Megachile (leaf-cutting bee) group.

Both the wool-carder and the leafcutter are solitary bees. They nest in walls, as well as in dead wood and bee hotels provided by us. Wool carder bees also nest in hollow stems whereas leafcutters will occasionally use soil, twigs and the hollow stems of brambles. They are impressive engineers, magical to watch and this year my dream of seeing a wool carder bee came true. Read more

Jo’s Mini Meadow 5 – New Arrivals in the Orchard Meadow and a Mini Meadow Surprise

Musk Mallow and Field Scabious

The new orchard meadow has been a constant source of delight, awe and wonder from my very own kitchen window this spring and summer. With growing joy, I watched the plants beginning to flower that set seed last year. Their pollen and nectar attracted many solitary bees and bumblebees, including the fascinating Wool-carder Bee for the first time. Read more