The 12 days of (a wildlife) Christmas – 11 pipers (vale) piping

For day 11 of our 12 days of (a wildlife) Christmas we’ll be heading to pipers vale to see what wintery wildlife we can find.

Earlier this year, we went to Pipers Vale after dark to see what different wildlife we could find. Within about ten minutes we heard the sound of male stag beetles in flight as they were seeking females out noisily and clumsily.

Stag beetles are the UK’s second largest beetle with males being able to grow up to 8cm long. Only one other beetle in the UK is larger - the water beetle. With a life cycle that spans across several years, stag beetles are unfortunately susceptible to habitat destruction and predation and their numbers are sadly declining across Europe.

However, there are things we can all do to help stag beetle numbers, whether it's logging your sightings of adults or their larvae or actively building them suitable habitat for the larvae to live in such as creating dead wood piles. Click here to record your sightings here to find out how to create habitat suitable for stag beetles. 

Stag Beetle, Pipers Vale - Lucy Shepherd

We were also delighted to see the gentle green glow of female glow worms. Glow worm’s names are deceiving, they are not a worm at all but in fact a beetle that spend most of their time living mostly in their larvae form as fierce predators. They spend three years eating as much as they can ready for when they reach maturity where they won’t eat at all, focusing all their energy on mating in the few weeks that they live as an adult. This species is again one that is facing declines across the country and if you are lucky enough to spot them between May and June, then you can help contribute to a national important recording scheme and record your sighting here

Glow worm

As we went to Pipers Vale this month, there wasn’t any chance that we would spot these species in the winter months and so we looked for other species instead. It was amazing how many species of fungi there were still out in December, a sign of climate change and a shift in the seasons as winter months are milder than in previous years.

Pipers Vale is teeming with wildlife throughout the year and with views over Ipswich, it’s a great location for a winter walk this Christmas. 

Pipers Vale - Lucy Shepherd