Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Out for the Count – Field Cricket Flash Back!

Out for the Count –

A Flashback to the Field Cricket Project this June!

 

Since joining the team at RSPB’s Farnham Heath reserve, I have been consistently amazed at the variety of heathland specialists that are on the site. I had heard of many of them prior to joining the team; Sand Lizards, Dartford Warblers and Nightjar were all familiar to me, however the story of the Field Crickets is one I was not familiar with.

From the very first summer I went out on the Farnham release site, I was amazed at the chorus of churrs that came from the grassy banks in an almost hypnotic whirr. Not long after, I had the chance to meet the Back from the Brink team and learn about the fantastic work being done for the species.

In May 2019 I went out on my first Field Cricket count with Mike Coates, the Farnham Heath Warden and Field Cricket licence holder. We were cautiously optimistic about numbers, having heard a few churring on our way down to the site. We were gobsmacked at just how many churring males were down on the Tankersford area of the reserve; some areas had almost 10 times the number of males they had in 2018! What started as a quick 45-minute count quickly turned into a frantic 3-hour rush to count as many as we could before losing precious sunlight. Reconvening at about half past seven we checked the maths and were astounded to find out we had over 300 crickets on our heath. Mike and I were at a loss for words! We added the numbers again and again to make sure we were right and by the end of the survey we had confirmed that Farnham may have the largest single population of Field Crickets of all the sites where it has been reintroduced. It was an incredibly rewarding experience especially since the many wonderful volunteers and I had worked tirelessly to clear these areas and create suitable habitat for them.

Since then I have been involved with the Back from the Brink Dream of the Field Cricket event, celebrating the work done to save these fantastic invertebrates and inspire others through music and poetry. Additionally, I had the chance to spend the day with Graeme Lyons and Jane Sears learning about the history of these species, how we can improve our sites for them and how the work by Back from the Brink and the Natural England Species Recovery Programme has saved them from almost certain extinction. Really, I cannot thank Graeme and Jane enough for letting me get involved in the project, I look forward to future work with the Back from the Brink Field Cricket project and hope more success stories are soon to follow.

 

Tom Cover

Assistant Warden

RSPB’s Farnham Heath Reserve

 

 

Would you like to help these 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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