Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Cricket tickling = crickling?

Last month our Communications Manager, James, headed off into the sunrise (literally) with a photographer and a direct marketing officer from the RSPB to check out the Back from the Brink Field Cricket project and take part in 'cricket tickling' (a technique used by license holders).
We thought we'd ask Emma and Ben how it went and get their unique view on the species and the technique! (see Ben's blog here).
Emma works within publications for the RSPB and is the editor for "Fellows News". She's always looking for something new and exciting to write about. Here's her take on things:

"Ever since the day I saw Jiminy Cricket I was fascinated by the mini-beasts. I mean who didn’t like the charming and buggy narrator of Pinocchio? When I first heard that distinctive chirp and was told it was a cricket every time I heard one I named it Jiminy. So my previous experience of crickets was limited to nostalgic childhood characters and rescuing them when they somehow managed to get in the house. Obviously, none of these experiences involved Field Crickets since they are very rare in the UK.

So, when I heard there was an opportunity to go on a Field Cricket volunteering day I was intrigued to say the least. But really it was the uttered words “cricket tickling” that got my attention. What an amazing piece of content this would be for the RSPB blog and publications. First-hand experience of conservation work on a ground breaking project would go down a treat with our audiences and it sounds fun too (content to come). And so with some light pestering James took me under his Back from the Brink wing for the day. It was an early start and a fair bit of traveling but well worth it especially if the 12 pairs translocated over two different sites might take hold.

Cricket tickling, or as I now like to refer to it - “crickling”, was enthralling.
After being introduced a little bit to their history we were taken on a short walk to the location of many Field Cricket nymphs. On that walk Mike, the license holder, asked us to find our crickling materials. I picked a blade of grass or stem from several varieties as I felt I needed options if I wanted to get the best out of my crickling experience. What if the cricket wasn’t phased by the long green spindly one, or the sturdy one was too sturdy?

I must state here that crickling can only be done under the guidance of a license holder. But Mike was more than just a license holder, he was a fountain of Field Cricket knowledge. I listened carefully to his tips and set about finding some cricket nymphs. Location one, two crickets were found under my skilful crickle, a male and a female. This was great. I had found one of the six pairs that would be translocated elsewhere to start a new colony. If that group takes hold then I would have helped increase the population of Field Crickets in the UK. Now time to wait.

Location two, one cricket found. This one was a bit trickier. The wind had picked up in the afternoon and it was quite a bit cooler so the nymphs were a little more reluctant to our crickling wiles. But I was still so excited to have been part of another translocation. Releasing him back into the wild, I hovered and watched what he did in the first few minutes at his new home.

Wind swept and tired it was time for a cuppa before heading home. I hope one day to visit one of the sites the crickets were translocated to and hear them in their abundance knowing that I helped bring these little guys back from the brink."

 

Emma Lacy

Direct Marketing Officer, RSPB.

 

Would you like to help this incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.

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