Summer is for dragonflies and butterflies

four-spotted chaser by Mike Andrews

Since our last update, the sun has continued to shine so I am going to call it summer even though it is the last few days of spring. Summer is a great time to see dragonflies and butterflies around our trails and this update will help point out some of the species and where you might find them at Lackford Lakes.

The reserve is currently open from 8am to 5pm, with the gates to the car park being closed at 5pm. All our trails are open to explore. The visitor centre, car park and toilets remain closed.

Let us start with those dragonflies and damselflies.  During the last few weeks, they have started to appear in good numbers all over the reserve.  As you walk along the paths you will disturb clouds of small blue damselflies – these are called common blue damselflies.  Other damselflies to look out for include red-eyed damselfly and blue-tailed damselfly. 

damselfly

damselfly

 

Dragonfly wise we have been seeing quite a few four-spotted chaser and hairy dragonfly around our trails.  In recent days emperor dragonfly and black-tailed skimmer has been seen on the wings.  For dragonflies, look over the sailing lake from the benches or around hawker pool on the eastern lakes trail (green trail).  Using binoculars will give you even closer view of these amazing creatures.

four-spotted chaser

four-spotted chaser by Mike Andrews

emperor dragonfly

emperor dragonfly by Mike Andrews

Now moving onto butterflies.  The species you are most likely to come across on the reserve right now are speckled wood, small heath, small tortoiseshell and brimstone.  Others that you have a chance with are common blue damselfly, brown argus and large skipper – these are just beginning to show in recent days.

Head to the wooded areas of the reserve for speckled wood.  Brimstone seem to pop up anywhere.  Grassy or more sunny spots for large skipper.  Sayer’s breck trail (red trail) is best for the small ones – small heath, brown argus and common blue butterflies that way.

speckled wood

speckled wood by Mike Andrews

large skipper

large skipper by Mike Andrews

small heath

small heath by Mike Andrews

Moving onto birds now.  For water birds, this has been tricky for us as our hides have been closed.  For these, I would head down the eastern end of the reserve and view areas from the paths – you will be able to view hawker pool and plover lake.  Look out for common terns, black-headed gull, great crested grebes, mute swan and maybe catch a view of the kingfisher.

Our smaller birds are now very busy trying to find insects to raise a family so look carefully into the shrubs and trees by the paths and you might catch a glimpse of blackcap, chiffchaff, long-tailed tit, blue tit and great tit.

Other bird highlights at the moment, include our spotted flycatcher which has been seen catching flies in open areas of ash carr.  Our swifts that are now sitting on two eggs and it looks like we have a minimum of 4 of our boxes being used this year (watch and listen to them around the centre) and it looks like our great spotted woodpeckers have now fledged from their hole at the start of ash carr.

Summer is a great for a mixture of wildlife at Lackford Lakes – butterflies, dragonflies and some birds.