We don't live in the North of England for the weather - that's for sure. Those who live in Scotland - likewise. Was it Billy Connolly who said ' Scotland has two seasons - June and winter'? No we live in the North for the beauty of the countryside, for the warmth of the people and - let's face it for many of us - because we were born there.
Of course there are those hardy pioneering souls who venture further afield than their birthplace. We know quite a few farmers around here who have sold up and gone to farm in Canada. And I have to say that the farmer and I have been to many parts of Canada and we absolutely love it. And we tell ourselves that if we were younger we would do the same. Nothing prepares you for the beauty, the wide open spaces, the lovely people.....I could go on - but I digress from today's topic.
We also know people who have moved to the continent of Europe - South of France, the Dordogne, Spain, Tuscany - searching for a new life in the sun. (we also know people who have done this and are now desperate to come back).
But it seems it is not just people on the move, but animals too - or rather birds and insects. They are moving in the opposite direction - could it be that they sense something that we don't?
It is common now to see egrets - there was a time when the stark white of an egret standing by a pool in the South of England caused a quick step on the brakes. Now they are quite common-place. And look at the collared dove - they are a recent immigrant too and now we often see a dozen sitting together on the electricity wires.
Now this morning I read in The Times (Paul Simons) that crickets and grasshoppers are migrating here too. Paul says that they seem to be ' barometers of the changing climate'.
Take the long-winged conehead cricket (conehead sounds a bit derogatory) - it popped up in the 1940's on the South Coast but is now moving North at the rate of 7.5 miles each year - it'll be quite a while before it gets up here and I certainly won't still be here to welcome it. Similarly Roesel's bush cricket spent fifty years around the London area but then decided to look for pastures new and is now in the Potteries area.
And as for the yellowy-green cickle-bearing bush cricket - well it hopped over the channel (as you do), set up home in Hastings and has now decided it likes Dungeness in Kent better. As Paul says ' they are on the hop'.
So - if you see any strange crickets in your area of the UK please let the Orthoptera Survey people know - go to www.orthoptera.org.uk to find out more.
Have a pleasant, hoppy day!