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The RSPB release Field Crickets on Farnham Heath

Field Cricket
Farnham Heath will be alive with the sound of singing crickets

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is widening its remit, by reintroducing insects to the countryside in Surrey.

The move is part of a wider scheme which aims to bring back endangered hoverflies, moths, bees and crickets.

In the spirit of the International Year of Biodiversity, the Society and its partners are reintroducing insect species which are either extinct or on the brink of extinction in the UK.

The RSPB is hoping to repeat its success with birds including white tailed eagles, red kites and corncrakes, by turning its attention to insects.

Field cricket populations have declined severely due to loss of habitats such as lowland heath land and grassland and were at their lowest point in the late 80s after they were reduced to a single surviving colony of just 100 in Sussex.

FARNHAM HEATH
The RSPB's Farnham Heath restoration project is seeing heather seeds germinating and rare heathland wildlife such as woodlarks, tree pipits, nightjars and sand lizards returning. The reserve also has areas with displays of bluebells in spring and over 150 species of fungi

They have been brought back to help recreate heathland on Farnham Heath in Surrey.

The crickets have been released on the southern section of the reserve, known as Tankersford.

The area was cleared as part of the heath land restoration work and further preparation for the crickets has included an appropriate grazing regime and some scraping, to create bare ground for burrowing and low, south facing banks for basking.

Mike Coates the RSPB warden at Farnham Heath said: "This is really exciting stuff. Crickets are cute (for insects!) and they make a great noise - a loud "chirrup, chirrup".

"They formerly occurred less than a kilometre away at Frensham Little Pond, so it will be great to have them back in the neighbourhood!"

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