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While I was sweltering in the heat on the Aberbargoed tip last week, I was being serenaded by the local wildlife, the twee-twee-twee of Siskin calling to each other in the scattered trees above me, and the rasping of grasshoppers on the scree slopes around my feet. When one of those little raspers stayed still long enough for a few photos, I realised they were a species I’d not seen before, Mottled grasshoppers (Myrmeleotettix maculatus). Their preference for dry places means the south-facing slopes of the coal spoil provide the perfect habitat, and they are a common sight on the former coal tips of the Welsh Valleys.

220713 mottled grasshopper