Go on a minibeast hunt at Lackford Lakes!

Willow emerald damselfly - Steve Aylward

Summer has definitely arrived at Lackford Lakes and the reserve is literally buzzing with excitement. It is a great time of year to go on a minibeast hunt with so many invertebrates calling Lackford home.

Why not bring your own bug pot or you can pop into the shop which is open 10am-3.30pm and pick one up. Alternatively become a family member when you arrive, and you will be given a children’s bug hunting kit that is ready to go on an adventure with you. Before you set off don't forget also to head to our website where you can download and print our spotter sheets and marvellous minibeast trail sheet! The marvellous minibeast trail is on the blue route and is a gentle route accessible for everyone!

Marvelous minibeast board Lackford

Dragonflies and damselflies

Lackford lakes has nineteen species of dragonflies and is, in part, why we are a site of special scientific interest and right now they are amazing!  Black tailed skimmers, migrant hawkers and southern hawkers have all been seen skimming across the top of the raised pond. As well as dragonflies, the damselflies have been in abundance with willow emeralds and common blues flitting around the reserve. Hotspots for these include the raised pond, the Hawker pool and the edge of the sailing lake. We suggest using your binoculars to scan these areas to get a fantastic view of these amazing minibeasts at their best.

Butterflies

As we mentioned last time, you can see over half of the UK butterflies right here at Lackford Lakes.  Over the last four weeks they have exploded in numbers and we have seen peacocks, brimstone, small tortoiseshell, red admiral, meadow brown, speckled wood, ringlet, gatekeeper, holly blue, small copper, brown argus and even a few painted ladies! On the blue route make sure to stop at the butterfly bush for a fantastic close up view of these. Another couple of hot spots for butterflies currently is the hemp agrimony and the flowering brambles which can be found all over the reserve. If you are looking for small species of butterfly, then Sayers Breck is fantastic for small coppers and brown argus. Again, make sure you have binoculars so you can really appreciate the intricacy of the patterns and colours.

Tortoiseshell butterfly - Michael Andrews

Tortoiseshell butterfly - Michael Andrews

Other insects

It is hard to walk around the reserve currently without hearing the classic summer sound of crickets and grasshoppers in the long grass. Keep an eye out for both at Lackford as they hop between blades of grass. Ladybirds can also be found hiding amongst leaves of trees and bushes and you can take a closer look at these using your bug pot to count the spots! You can also see bees, hoverflies, beetles, spiders and more as you wander around the blue route. A great hot spot for insects is Bug Alley on the path approaching double-decker hide so keep your eyes peeled!

Birds

The hides are currently still closed which makes it a little different when spotting birds however all you need to do is look up!  Birds of prey can often be seen circling high in the bright blue summer sky. Recently we have seen buzzards, sparrow hawk, red kite, and marsh harrier. Buzzards can be identified by their gentle soaring high in the sky with their outstretched wings that give the appearance of long fingers and their fanned tails. Red kites can be distinguished from buzzards because of their distinctive forked tails and their wings create a V-shape. Marsh harriers’ wings are held in a shallow v and has a longer fanned tail than buzzards the males have two grey stripes on their wings. Keep an eye out for marsh harriers over the reed beds in front of the visitor centre.

Marsh harrier - Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

Marsh harrier - Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

Autumn birds

It may feel like summer has just arrived but in the bird world things are already changing! Duck numbers are slowly building up on plover pool including some tufted ducks and a pair of great crested grebes. Common terns can also be seen from some of the paths overlooking the eastern lakes.

Great crested grebe

Great crested grebes - Angela Lord

Events

So next time you visit remember those binoculars to get a truly great view of all of this and more! It is also worth mentioning we have some special events over summer including wild family minibeast hunting and personal pond dipping sessions with our wild learning officer which can all be booked via our website:

Events coming soon