September is usually a good month for grasshoppers and crickets. Although we have only four kinds (three grasshoppers, one groundhopper and one bush-cricket), they can be abundant locally and make attractive, if challenging, subjects for close-up photography. I spent an entertaining hour on 20th with Short-winged Coneheads at Tagg’s Island Birkdale. These 2cm-long bush-crickets first appeared in our region as recently as 2002 and are always alert to danger, dodging behind plant stems when the camera lens approaches. With patience, however, it is possible to get pictures.
I also took my camera on 14th when Trevor Davenport phoned to say he had caught a Convolvulus Hawkmoth in his Freshfield moth-trap. This great rarity is one of the largest British insects and was a new tick for me. We managed to unfurl its four-inch proboscis and give it a drink of sugar-water. This had the desired effect, as it flew away shortly afterwards.