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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wed 17th August 2011 - Alverstone Mead.

Carrie's Photographs.

Eddie's Photographs.

This week Team GG were "rolling in the hay" but perhaps a more exact description would be - gathering in the hay, putting it into rolls and then stacking them up (doesn't sound anywhere near as exciting - does it?)
The grass in Skinner's Meadow had been cut and turned before we arrived so it was all hands to the rakes to gather it all into elongated piles ready for digestion by the munching machine. This clever device "eats" the hay, rolls it into a huge cylinder, wraps it with a biodegradable wrapper and then ejects the finished roll. With just short of 40 GG members working hard, by the time it came around to tea break, the majority of the field was raked up. The team then split into two - one continuing with the hay making and the other tackling some ragwort in a nearby field. Excellent progress was made with both tasks and John (the warden) seemed happy with our efforts. As per usual it was a delight to visit this wonderful site and see how some of our previous tasks were progressing.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

The warden at Alverstone Mead - John found a fascinating insect during this week's visit - a Great Green Bush Cricket. These are the largest insects found in England in limited areas in the south around July to October. It prefers to live on rough grassland and on uncut fields which have long tall grass, but it still needs bare patches of grass in its environment so it can lay its egg in the soil. They are about five centimetres in length, mainly grass green in colour, with a cone-shaped head, a brown stripe on the top and two long antennae. It also has six green legs, and the long hind ones can help it jump up to one metre in the air. Its wings are green, quite long and usually placed over the body when the cricket rests. They can often be heard before they are seen, particularly on hot summer afternoons and at night when the males want to attract females. The males sing very loud high-pitched songs, which are produced by rubbing their hind legs very quickly against their forewings. This action is called 'stridulation'. Male Great Green Bush Crickets can sing different songs to attract females and the females can listen to the songs by using ears which are situated on their front legs.

Many thanks to Carrie & Eddie for the photographs and to Carrie for the Nature Lesson.

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