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What to look out for in July...

Dragonflies & damselflies 

Many species will be on the wing at this time of year, look out for large red, common blue, azure and emerald damselflies. Also broad bodied chaser, common darter, southern hawker and brown hawker dragonflies. 

Tell them apart as dragonfly wings are spread at rest, whereas damselfliy wings lie along their body at rest. Also dragonfly's eyes touch at the top of their head and damselfly's eyes do not touch.

Find good reserves for dragonflies & damselflies and a spotter sheet here.

Kingfishers at Lackford Lakes

Summer is a wonderful time of year to visit Lackford Lakes and go kingfisher spotting. Look out for their unmistakable shiny, bright blue colour. 

As their name implies, kingfishers hunt fish and aquatic invertebrates, and can be seen hovering above the water then diving in to emerge with a fish in their spear-like beak.

Kingfishers can be seen all year round at the reserve, but their colours look extra beautiful when reflecting the summer sunlight.

Stag beetles

The first sight of a male stag beetle can be somewhat alarming. These clumsy beetles grow up to 6cm long with enormous jaws in relation to their body. These jaws are actully very weak and harmless to humans, being used instead like antlers to fend of rival males. The female is much smaller than the male and has smaller jaws which are used for burying eggs in the rotten wood they are laid on.

Male stag beetles are usually seen on warm summer evenings. If you see a stag beetle in Suffolk, please report it to the Suffolk Naturalists' Society.

Reptiles

The summer months are a good time to spot reptiles basking in the morning sunshine, although you need to have luck on your side as they are not common and can be difficult to spot. We have four species of reptiles in Suffolk, grass snakes, adders, slow worms and common lizards. Look out for grass snakes basking near water or a compost heap (their favourite breeding grounds). Slow worms and common lizards can be found in most habitats where they can find invertebrates to feed on, and adders prefer woodland or heathland. If you spot a reptile please report your sighting here.

Adder
The adder is a relatively small, stocky snake growing to approximately 60 cm. Adders vary in colour, but they are readily identified by a thick, black or brown zig-zag stripe running all the way along the back. The background coloration of males is generally grey, strongly contrasting with the black zig-zag stripe; females tend to be brown, sometimes chestnut brown. Young adders can also be chestnut brown. Occasionally black adders are found in Suffolk.

Common (viviparous) lizard
Adults grow to 13-15cm. Markings and coloration are variable but most are brown. Males usually have darker flecks, females often have stripes running along the back. Very occasionally green or black lizards can be found. Newborn young are very dark, appearing black from a distance.

Slow-worm
Adults grow to 35-40 cm. They are grey or brown. Females and younger and animals generally have darker flanks and sometimes a dark line running along the back. Some males have small, slate-blue spots. The scales are smooth, giving a polished, metallic appearance. As a lizard, the slow-worm can shed its tail in an attempt to escape a predator. Re-growth of the tail is poor, resulting in short, dark, stumpy tails in some animals.

Grass snake
Grass snakes can grow to a large size, some females reaching 90 cm or more, but most are smaller than this. Coloration ranges from dull, olive green to much more vivid shades. Behind the head is a white/cream/yellow collar which is bordered to the rear by contrasting black markings. There is a series of bars running along the flanks and some snakes also have black markings along the back. The distinctiveness of markings varies between animals – some appear uniformly black at a quick glance.

Bees

Many species of bee and bumblebee will be active now. Bees can be split into two groups: social bees and solitary bees. All bumblebees and honeybees are social bees. Examples of solitary bees are the leaf cutter bee and the tawny mining bee.

Find out more about bees and bumblebees..