This was no ordinary guided walk, as refreshments were laid on in the churchyard. BMG enjoyed the sandwiches, crisps and cake - in fact she probably ate more than I originally donated to the appeal, but nobody seemed to mind!
Then we set off on the short walk to the reserve, pausing on the way as our guide, Colin, told us a little about the site. It's made up of 5 Ha of chalk grassland that's in great condition, plus the woodland behind the slope and to the side. Usually when we visit we walk down from above the slope appearing in the opposite corner, so it was nice to approach from the other side and get a different view.
I was keen to find out what the plans were for the site, hoping things weren't going to change too much! It sounds like the same group of people that used to look after the site are still looking after it now. A water supply has been installed for the cattle that graze the site over the winter, some of the scrub will continue to be kept at bay and new information boards have been put up. All good news!
|Brand new information boards|
|6-spot burnet moth|
The grasshoppers and crickets were chirping, whirring and singing all around us. Our guide explained that they have about a dozen different species of grasshoppers and crickets on the site and you can tell each species by the noise they make. We picked out a few different sounds, but I think it would take a bit of practice before I could tell them all apart. As we were talking about them, a great green bush-cricket jumped onto somebodies trouser leg, walked up his leg, up his shirt and sat posing for photos on his shoulder. They are massive crickets (about 5cm long) and it was quite a sight to have one 'perform' for us.
|Great green bush-cricket (supposedly sounds like a sowing machine!)|
|Shame about the lack of focus, but you can see how big the cricket was!|
|Roesel's bush cricket (supposed to sound like a dentist's drill)|
(updated 19/7: turns out the photo was of a common blue, not a chalkhill blue! Still lovely though!!)