1: Ruby-tailed wasp
A beautifully rare cuckoo wasp with a metallic red and green body that favours sandy conditions such as those around The Lodge heaths. Look out for them flying low over the paths on the search for nesting holes of their host species. They parasitise a number of digger wasps. They can generally be spotted during the summer months of July and August.
2: Wasp Spider
Easily identified by its black and yellow horizontal stripes, this harmless spider has been spreading across the reserve. For the past couple of years a handful could be seen on our Old Heath but this year over 20 individuals were counted in one day within the grassland of Sandy Heath. They became quite an attraction for HQ staff and visitors. Look out for their distinctive web which has a white zig-zag pattern built into it.
3: Pantaloon bee /hairy-legged mining bee
The females are unmistakeable with their hairy orange back legs appearing as if they are wearing pantaloons. They will only source nectar from yellow flowering plants such as hawkbits, ragwort and fleabane. These bees love the sandy soil and have formed a large colony in the restored areas of Sandy Heath Quarry but they were also observed along the well-trodden trails around the heaths.
The pair arrived back from their African wintering grounds in May and decided to use the same old crow’s nest as last year. After four weeks of silence the eggs hatched during one of our wettest weeks but the parents, aided by a third hobby, successfully reared three chicks. It was a great opportunity to engage with our visitors; our volunteers set up a telescope to view the nest and a hobby trail full of hobby facts was erected. It became a highlight for those who attended our Big Wild Sleepout events.
5: Common lizard
Although widespread the common lizards at The Lodge have been another star for many of our visitors. During August the adult females gave birth to inch-long live lizards, many of which have been spotted basking on a number of strategically-placed logs. One lizard family in particular occupied a log in front of the visitor centre, which provided a great welcome especially to the many families with young children.