We will be writing up the information for the proposed atlas this year but we will include any records sent in during 2015 so you're not too late. Details of where to send records can be found on the home page. For earlier articles visit the Archives pages for 2013 & 2014.
An early instar Oak Bush-cricket was photgraphed at an old orchard near Naunton Beauchamp on 19th june 2015. The strong winds and occassional heavy bursts of rain (at the time when they were hatching) might have caused problems for ths arboreal species. We will see later in the summer when they should start turning up in houses.
Second instar Long-winged Conehead, Clarks Hill 18.06.15
The first Long-winged Conehead of the year was photographed at Clarks Hill near Evesham on 18th June 2015. This is a second instar. This was swept from ungrazed grassland along with several early instar Meadow and Field Grasshoppers. Common Green Grasshopper was also noted, which was heard calling but not seen.
Common Green Grasshopper early record
The biggest surprise so far this year has been a stridulating Common Green Grasshopper at Hipton Hill on 8th June 2015. This is a species experiencing a serious decline in Worcestershire so this is a very promising start to the season. I just hope the cold nights don't cause further problems. I'm very keen to hear of any sightings of this species in Worcestershire, so keep your eyes and ears open.
Field Grasshopper 1st instar 6th june 2015
First instar Field Grasshopper 06.06.15
During a Worcestershire Recorders field meeting at Shrawley wood on 6th June I found several tiny grasshoppers. On closer inspection they could be seen to be Field Grasshoppers. The pronotal side keels have a slight but obvious waste (see image left and compare to Lesser Marsh below). There were also good numbers of Speckled Bush-cricket nymphs including some still at first instar stage as well as Dark Bush-crickets.
Avon Meadows (Pershore Wetlands) Bioblitz
First instar Lesser Marsh Grasshopper
On 22nd May 2015 Avon Meadows (aka Pershore Wetlands) was open for a bioblitz to encourage local people to visit the site and enjoy the wildlife on the edge of the town. The site is an excellent spot for Orthoptera and the day gave a record for the first grasshoppers of the year reported in Worcestershire. These were Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers; there were thousands of these grasshoppers in the grasslands at Pershore Wetlands in the summer of 2014 so hopefully this year will be the same (if the weather warms up!).
Dark Bush-cricket early instars were also found on the day.
Orthoptera at Shrawley Wood, May 2015
The hot weather on Saturday 16th May brought an emergence of Speckled Bush-crickets at Shrawley wood. A visit on 17th was rewarded with large numbers of these tiny green bush-crickets with over-sized black spots. There were many Dark Bush-crickets and Slender Groundhoppers.
Slender Groundhopper in Shrawley Wood N. Farmer
Spot the bush-crickets (Dark & Speckled) N. Farmer
First of the year for 2015
It was no surprise that the groundhoppers were the first of the year to be spotted. These little Orthopterans over-winter in various stages including adults so they can appear at the first warm days. Various sites around Wyre Forest were the first reported sites for both Slender and Common Groundhoppers, including this one below from Pound Green Common. Dark Bush-cricket is usually the first species to be seen after the groundhoppers and this year was no exception with this one at Tiddesley Wood on the 3rd May being the first record for 2015. Unusually it was Roesel's Bush-cricket to be noted next (Speckled Bush-cricket in all previous years). This was a very small first instar but even this quick snap on a camera phone shows the distinctive pale markings on the side of the body.
Common Groundhopper at Pound Green Common 30.04.15: N. Farmer
Dark Bush-cricket first instar at Tiddesley Wood 03.05.15: N. Farmer
Roesel's Bush-cricket at Hipton Hill 15.05.15
Early Instar Grasshoppers - A word of caution.
In 2014 I caught a dark, first instar grasshopper which I presumed to be Field Grasshopper because of the colour. However the pronotum detail seemed wrong so I took it away and grew it on. It turned out to be a Meadow Grasshopper. See below, three images 1st, 2nd and 3rd instar of the same grasshopper.