A wonderful mix of summer wildlife

red admiral by Mike Andrews

Summer is a great time at Lackford, with a wonderful mix of wildlife to watch – butterflies, dragonflies and birds. At the start of June (the beginning of summer), here is what you could see around the reserve.

Butterflies

So far this year we have recorded 14 species of butterflies.  Most of these can still be seen at the beginning of June.  Many more should shortly be flying as the summer butterflies emerge like the skippers.  This week there has been small tortoiseshell, peacock, brown argus, brimstone, small heath and small copper.   In the last few days, we have also seen the arrival of quite a few red admirals on the reserve.  Good spots for butterflies include Sayer’s Breck trail for small heath / brown argus and the area around Double Decker.

red admiral

red admiral by Mike Andrews

Damselflies and dragonflies

Summer is the time for damselflies and dragonflies at Lackford – so far 11 species have been seen.  Dragonflies include four-spotted chaser, black-tailed skimmer, broad-bodied chaser and emperor.  Damselflies include common blue, red-eyed, blue tailed and azure.  These have been seen from all over the reserve.  Good spots to check are in front of Bernard’s hide and Bess’s hide where red-eyed damselflies and four-spotted chaser can be found.  The summer trail is always a good place to look for these as well.  Try looking at these using your binoculars and you will appreciate the wonderful markings of these amazing creatures.

four-spotted chaser

four-spotted chaser by Mike Andrews

Moths

As we are in the summer months, we have moth viewing events every second Saturday at 1pm – the next few are on Saturday 15th and Saturday 29th June.  June is a good time to see some of the large hawkmoths like this lime hawkmoth photographed below.  Some moths do fly during the day, so it is worth keeping an eye around grassy areas of the reserve – cinnabar moth is one example of a moth that we seem to do well with at Lackford and are often seen during a walk around the reserve.

Lime hawkmoth (Brown form)

Lime hawkmoth (Brown form) by Mike Andrews

Other insects

It is always worth looking for other insects around the reserve during the summer like grasshoppers, shieldbugs and bees.  Take a picture and show us back at the centre and we will try and identify what it is.

Birds

There are still lots of birds to be seen around the reserve so here is a small selection of what is around. 

Starting on the slough from Paul’s, Bernards and Double Decker hide, scan with binoculars and you should see lots of birds including pochard, tufted duck, shelduck, oystercatcher, lapwing and common tern.  We also have a great crested grebe nest and this area seems to be good for hearing and catching a glimpse of a cuckoo.

The eastern lakes are a good spot for looking for many more ducks and some of our great crested grebes have young down that way so it might be worth a visit to one or two hides on that part of the reserve.

pochard

pochard by Mike Andrews

As you wonder about the trails, you are likely to bump into many warbler and tit families busy looking for food.  Just the other day, I saw a young chiffchaff family feeding their newly fledged young next to the Kingfisher trail.  Look out / listen for garden warbler, blackcap, reed warbler and chiffchaff.  Noisy parties of long tailed tits and great tits are often hunting around the trees and shrubs by the trail.  Even though we are into June, we are still hearing and sometimes seeing nightingale – the spot around the Double Decker hide is best for these.

Ash carr is often the spot for to look for nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker and we seem to get some regular sighting of spotted flycatcher there as well.

Back at the centre, we are waiting to see what the kingfishers will do next.  A few weeks ago, they fledged from the artificial bank that we created for them.  We are also seeing great spotted woodpeckers frequently from the centre and we think the young that the male was feeding are now flying so maybe he will bring the young birds to the feeders to be fed in the next few days.  

Lastly, we have a camera in one of our swift nestbox cameras and they have two eggs in there so we should see a lot of swift action over the coming months.  They will be sitting on the eggs for around 20 days so maybe a week or so until they hatch.  The young with remain in the nest for 37 to 56 days so if all goes well we should have action into Augusts.

swift camera at Lackford Lakes

Inside a swift box at Lackford Lakes

So summer is a great time to explorer a good mixture of wildlife at Lackford lakes.