We had a quick look at the banded demoiselle last week and how they are only generally seen near flowing water - hence by Elstow Brook. They are very sensitive to pollution and need healthy vegetation for egg laying and as perches. Here is a some more great footage of a female (green) and a male (blue - also seen in our header photo). Header photo by Martin Rogers

The Ledra aurita is one of our largest leafhoppers (this just means it’s a species from the Cicadellidae family) at 13-18mm and has very distinctive ‘ears’. You’re lucky to see this video of a nymph below as they’re normally  so well camouflaged, you can’t see them. Normally, they’d be on trees (particularly oak) covered in lichen but this one was on a gate, so it must’ve got confused!

You’ve more than likely heard the 'stridulating' of a field grasshopper before - when they rub their legs on their wings and it sounds like singing. We have another rare video of one doing this up close - normally they fly away before you get too close so we’ve had a lucky week! Possibly the strangest thing about them is that their ears are in their bottom. You might confuse them for bush crickets, but they have shorter antennae and, like we said, tend to fly away from ‘danger’ whereas crickets will crawl away slowly.

We’ll have a more in depth look at the moths you'll see in June next week, but for now we’ve seen the burnet companion out and about - you tend to see them in grassland (meadows, roadside verges and river embankments). We’ve also seen more speckled wood butterflies - they’re generally feeding on honeydew (produced by aphids) up in tree tops - so look up!

Burnet companion moth and speckled wood butterfly

Speckled wood butterfly and burnet companion moth (Credit to Martin Rogers)


We’ve got a bit of a special focus on swifts this week as they’re in full blown nesting mode - everywhere except the Millennium Country Park, sadly!

Click here to read more about swifts

In other bird news, our mute swan family on Stewartby Lake have 6 cygnets with them. Every year we get families breeding on both the Lake and the Pillinge so it’s always good to see them back.

If your bird song identification isn’t quite where you’d like it to be, we’ve been recommended some great apps that you can use out and about that (hopefully) won’t drain your battery too much and should give you an idea of what you’re hearing:

Bird song ID UK - for iPhones

Birdnet - for Androids


The orchids are out! We won’t say where, as we’ve sadly had a history of bee orchids being removed from the Park, but Head Ranger Anna got a photo the other day. This means it’s officially summer!

We have common knapweed (or black knapweed) out in Rectory Wood - you’ll see it in gardens, roadside verges - pretty much everywhere. Butterflies love it so if you want to see any - stake out a common knapweed!

Common hogweed  is out in force and is the non-poisonous cousin of the giant hogweed - an incredibly poisonous plant which will burn you if you touch it, so be careful! There’s a great article explaining the difference and all of the variables here.

Common hogweed, common knapweed and bee orchid

Common hogweed, common knapweed and bee orchid

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All bird videos credit to Bob Hook