Butterflies and more during summer at Lackford Lakes

Butterflies and more during summer at Lackford Lakes

peacock butterfly 2

Summer is a great time to come and discover the mix of wildlife that can be seen at Lackford Lakes. It is a great time to look for our beautiful butterflies by our trails, some are big, and some are quite small. Dragonflies are also amazing at this time of year. On top of this are lots of other insects to look for and a range of birds on our lakes.

The summer months at the lakes are the best time to look for our beautiful butterflies and wherever you walk around the reserve, you will see some.  Recently our butterfly transect recorded 15 different species of butterfly.  The most common were red admiral, gatekeeper, ringlet and brown argus.  Others around include small white, green-veined white, essex skipper, meadow brown, comma, peacock and small skipper.  To find our more follow our butterfly information boards around the blue trail.  To get an even closer look at these amazing creatures, I recommend using binoculars to look at the patterns and colours on their wings.  If you don’t have binoculars, why not borrow some on your next visit?


comma by Mike Andrews



Like butterflies, dragonflies are very good during the summer months at the reserve.  They are a little more tricky but fascinating to watch.  One tip is to look for them whizzing about over the water from our wildlife viewpoints.  Try using binoculars as well.  Black-tailed skimmer and Emperor dragonfly are normally seen near water.  Others such as brown hawker, southern hawker and migrant hawker can be found patrolling areas away from water so always watch around the paths when walking between viewpoints.  Some are red like common darter and ruddy darter – these ones can often be seen perched on a wooden post or gate.

Emperor dragonfly

emperor dragonfly

brown hawker

brown hawker by Mike Andrews

When walking around the reserve there are lots of other insects to look out for like hoverflies, grasshoppers and bees so it is always worth stopping for a moment and taking a closer look at the plants and see what you can find.  Recently I spotted this caterpillar feeding away so you never know what you may see.

vapourer caterpillar

Vapourer caterpillar by Mike Andrews

On the bird front, look out for grey herons and little egrets fishing on our lakes.  Lapwing can be seen settled on the islands on the slough (viewable from Paul’s and Bernard’s viewpoints).  Great crested grebes and little grebes are showing well on the eastern lakes (green trail).  Common terns can be seen fishing around the reserve.  Overhead listen out for buzzards calling. 

Kingfisher wise – continues to be a quieter than normal but we are now getting a few sightings from around the reserve so maybe things are about to change.  Here is a photo of one of young birds that has been seen on the reserve recently.

young kingfisher

Young kingfisher by Mike Andrews

Swift wise – our young swifts are now a good age, and it won’t be long until they fledge from the box.  For now, you can still see then on the camera inside the centre.

Young swifts late July Lackford

young swifts late july lackford

Update about what is happening / open this summer at Lackford Lakes

The reserve is open 8am to 5pm daily (toilets, shop and café open until 5pm).  We are open late on Fridays until 8pm (shop, toilets and café close at 7pm).   Four hides are currently open.  There are lots of events happening – find out more by clicking here.  Daily throughout the summer, children can pick up our summer spotter sheet and see what they can see.  Children can also pick up of bug hunting kit.  Binoculars are available to borrow.

red admiral

red admiral by Mike Andrews