US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

4/4/07: Of stridulation, Swifts, a Sparrowhawk and small ponds

Not much suitable grassy habitat in my Barnehurst garden, but there has long (always?) been a small population of grasshoppers. There were three or four males stridulating (chirping) this afternoon - to my mind a classic sound of summer - in the top corner amongst the Helianthemums, Thrift and bits of bare sandy soil, where constant pulling of the stems controls, but hasn't quite eradicated, the Couch Grass.

Having bought the excellent 'Photographic Guide to the Grasshoppers and Crickets of Britain and Ireland' by Martin Evans and Roger Edmonson (pub. Wild Guide UK), which contains proper keys, I thought it was time to scientifically check the ID, so captured a rather splendid individual with a bright olive green pronotum. This and the other specimens watched were, not surprisingly, the common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus), but no less welcome for that.

There were a couple of Meadow Brown butterflies flitting about, and one sat on a Sedum spectabile and opened up its wings, which this species tends not to do very much.

Nearby, this Common Frog (Rana temporaria)was showing that even the smallest pool of water helps these creatures, having taken up residence in this unpromising bucket of rainwater - which was sat on some rubble awaiting use in further terracing repairs.

Even the smallest pool of water willl be used by Frogs

On a sunny evening 9 Swifts were flying very high overhead, and half a dozen Ring-Necked Parakeets were mobbing what appeared to be a Sparrowhawk. I dashed indoors for a pair of binoculars, but it was gone before I could deploy them.

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