Look out for butterflies, dragonflies and other insects

small tortoiseshell

Summer is a great time to look at our other residents. Almost anywhere you go at Lackford Lakes you will see our butterflies, dragonflies and other insects. To make the most of your visit, we recommend that you bring binoculars, a bug pot, and some identification sheets / books with you as we are unable to hire these out this summer.

Before I begin, an update on what is open and what is closed. The reserve is currently open 8am to 5pm each day. You will need to leave the car park by 5pm as we do lock the entrance gates at this time. Toilets are available from 10am to 3:30pm. From Monday 6th July, we will be offering a takeaway catering option including hot drinks and some snacks – this is open between 10am and 3:30pm. The visitor centre, hides and the summer footpath continue to remain closed at this time.

Butterflies

Lackford is a great place to come and see butterflies in the summer months.  Almost half of the butterflies seen in the UK can be found here.  Right now there is lots of red admiral, small tortoiseshell, brown argus, comma, ringlet, meadow brown and speckled wood around.  It is always worth watching our butterflies through binoculars as you will see the spectacular colours and patterns close up.  Our butterflies can be found all around the reserve, some good spots to look for them include our red trail (Sayer’s Breck trail), the path back to the centre around the viewing platform and the area around Hawker pool on the green trail.

red admiral

red admiral

meadow brown

meadow brown 

Dragonflies and damselflies

These are fascinating to watch as the patrol over water or along the paths around the reserve.  Around 19 different types can be found at Lackford lakes.  Look out for ruddy darter, emperor dragonfly, migrant hawker, brown hawker, black-tailed skimmer and red-eyed damselfly.  Our raised pond is always worth a check as many are flying about right in front of you.  Other areas on the reserve worth checking include the area around Hawker pool and look around the edges of the sailing lake.  Binoculars might help to get a closer view of the patterns of dragonflies and damselflies.

black-tailed skimmer

black-tailed skimmer

Other insects

We have loads of insects, all around the reserve so keep an eye on the vegetation as you wander around.  You can put these in a bug pot for a closer look and then release them where you found them.  Look out for bees, hoverflies, crickets, spiders, beetles and ladybirds.  Good spots for insects include our red trail (Sayer’s Breck trail), the sandy banks around the viewing platform and the path approaching Double Decker hide.

hoverflies

hoverflies

Birds

As the hides remain closed, it feels a little different when it comes for looking for birds.  You can see lots of birds as you walk around the reserve.  Many warblers are busy looking for food to feed their young.  Ash Carr is always worth a check for woodland birds, like nuthatch and treecreeper.  To look at the lakes, you can view the sailing lake from the benches on the blue trail or head down to the eastern lakes where you can get a view of Hawker pool and plover lake.  Looking over the lakes, you should see some ducks, common terns and perhaps get a view of a kingfisher.

Plants

Just a quick mention about this as this is not my speciality.  Sayer’s breck trail in particular is worth a walk to look for plants like vipers bugloss.

viper's bugloss

viper's bugloss

So next time you visit Lackford lakes, take a closer at what else you might see on a visit to the lakes.