Friday 28th July  Training Session on Identifying Grasshoppers and Bush-crickets Using Bat Detectors.  Leader John Arnott

 About a dozen members met at Fishbourne Meadows to learn how to identify grasshoppers and bush-crickets with the aid of hand-held Magenta 5 bat detectors.  It was hoped that using this method would be less intrusive than catching animals in nets, particularly for the Medmerry surveys. The weather was not ideal being breezy and not particularly sunny or warm.

John began by demonstrating how the bat detectors worked and what settings to use for hearing grasshoppers and bush-crickets.  He explained that it was important to listen to the rhythm and pattern of the songs in order to identify them.  John recommended that all participants should download the iRecord Grasshoppers app to their mobile.  He stressed that this was free and gave a great deal of useful information with photographs and sonograms to aid in identification.  Records can then be sent straight to iRecord.  It is necessary to send in a photo or sound recording attached to the record in order for it to be accepted by the verifier.  It is much easier to collect sound recordings than photos.

Then John concentrated on the 4 species of grasshopper and 4 of bush-crickets that were most likely to be found in our area (including Medmerry).  We then dispersed and practised using the bat detectors to see what we could find.  John explained how to differentiate species when more than one was singing together.  He also gave us useful ways of remembering particular songs e.g. Long-winged Conehead males produce a rattling song which sounds rather like a vintage tractor.  The Dark Bush-cricket sounds like a Magpie’s short rattle.  Other species sound similar to an old-fashioned sewing machine, a moped, electricity pylons, etc.  John encouraged us to imagine our own descriptions which we would be more likely to remember.

Everyone found the session really interesting and were keen to try out the Society’s bat detectors which are available on loan.  We are looking forward to trying out our new skills at Medmerry next week!

Philippa Arnott


ChiNATS members at the training session. (Photo Linda Smith)




Chichester, West Sussex

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