Bush cricket

A hitchhiking bush-cricket (Photo courtesy of Nature's Home reader John Bennett).

Our largest species of cricket, the great green bush-cricket can grow to up to 7cm long. It can be found across southern England and south Wales, in trees and grassland dotted with patches of scrub, where it feasts on a varied diet of vegetation and other insects. It is easily recognisable by its large size, long wings and impressive antennae, and can be seen from May all the way through to October.

Nature's Home reader John Bennett unwittingly gave this cricket a free ride at RSPB Dungeness.

"On a recent trip to RSPB Dungeness, a fellow birder made me aware that this magnificent bush-cricket was enjoying a free ride on my hat," says John. "While I was taking this photo, the cry went out from the other birders around me: 'Wryneck'! Yes, I had the wrong lens on. Never mind, great morning at a great reserve."

In the summer Dungeness will be awash with wildflowers, attracting a wide range of insects, particularly butterflies. Come autumn and winter, when the flowers have faded, October is the last opportunity to see species such as this bush-cricket, before the reserve becomes a key spot for migrants, boasting star species such as slavonian grebes, smews and goldeneyes.

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