The Friends of Alexandra Park have organised several walks where we looked for, and identified insects and other small creatures. The first walk, in 2011, was mostly aimed at adults but most of the subsequent events have been family events.
Family Bug Hunt 2022
Nice warm weather for Family Bug Hunt this year. Great to see lots of kids outside with nets waving......
Several butterflies where caught including Meadow Browns and a Common Blue. True bugs (insects with sucking mouthparts) also featured well with a couple of Sloe Bugs and a Leather Bug.
Roesel's Bush Crickets and Meadow Grasshopper were other insects found. Crickets have antenae longer than their bodies and grasshoppers antennae shorter than their bodies.
Sixteen spot and harlequin ladybirds were seen as well some small flies.
The biggest numbers found were spiders of all sizes with a crab spider where had been eating a honey bee and the star of the day, a Wasp Spider (pictured left).
All the insects were released back into the wild as close as possible to where they were found.
Butterfly Walk - July 2022
Butterflies like sunshine, and luckily we had lots of it. Starting in the Upper Main Meadow, our walk leaders Dee Cullen and Gerry Rawcliffe helped us to spot meadow browns and small or Essex skippers (the latter have antenna tips that are entirely black).
In the Lower Main Meadow we saw a large skipper (more heavily marked than the other two) and then marbled whites, with their gliding flight. In the park there are large, small and green-veined whites, and we saw a large white, the least common of the three, in the Anthill Meadow.
We also saw speckled woods, which like coming down onto brambles, and a six-spot burnet moth. We had to look up once we were at Cricket Scrub Corner, for the very small purple hairstreaks and whiteletter hairstreaks, as they like oaks and ashes/elms, respectively, so those of us with binoculars were at an advantage!"
Rebecca again led our Family Bug Hunt and inspired the children to search out their favourite invertebrates be it spiders or ladybirds. Among the finds were several species of ladybird, a ground beetle, gatekeeper butterfly, earwig, mirid bug, young green shield bug, crickets and grasshoppers as well as crab spiders. Some large moth caterpillars also drew admiration - a buff-tip and a white ermine.
Family Bug Hunt 2019
After a nightmare journey from Essex, Rebecca and Dave arrived for our Family Bug Hunt... We had quite a bit of sunshine, but with a slight feel of Autumn in the air. The finds started with a disproportionate number of spiders, but then a few butterflies flitted by including Green-veined and Small Whites.
Probably the highlight of the afternoon was a female Wasp Spider.
Talk: Everything, but the Ants
The Friends regularly work in an area of the park that we call the Butterfly Meadow. Stephen gave a talk outlining the work taking place and focusing on the insect life that is present in the area.
Talk: Plight of the Bumblebee, November 2018
There are 24 or 25 species of bumblebee of which 6 are parasitic cuckoo bees so a manageable number to study.....
Family Bug Hunt, August 2018
Family Bug Hunt, August 2017
We welcomed Bex back to lead our Family Bug Hunt in August.
Luckily summery, sunny weather was the order of the day. Youngsters and Oldsters were quite to grab nets and trays and set out see what beasties could be found. Mirid bugs and Harvestmen (spider relatives) were brought in a good quantity.
On the ladybird front several Harlequin were found together with four or five 16 spots - this small species pictured.
Family Bug Hunt 2016
A great group of families turned up on the hunt for bugs and beasties. On hand was Rebecca aided by Dave to help identify the finds.
A list of some of the bugs seen:
Butterfly Count and Insect Search, June 2016
A small group of all ages met together on an overcast, but warm day to see what Butterflies we could count and what other insects we could see/identify.
Among the bees were Honey Bee, Common Carder Bee, Red Tailed Bumble Bee, Leaf Cutter and Vestal Cuckoo Bee.
Yellow Longhorn and Swollen Leg beetles were spotted in the the grass.
Several Meadow Plant Bugs were observed as well as vibrantly coloured Weevil (Phyllobius roboretanus or virideaeris)
We spotted Flesh flies - with the beautifully discriptive Genus name Sarcophaga - and one colourful fly spotted was the Pellucid Fly. (Volucella pellucens) - pictured
Ants were also seen, but not identified.
Also found was a Nursery Web Spider, but that is not an insect.........
Family Bug Hunt, July 2015
Family Bug Hunt, August 2014
We had a good turn out for our Family Bug Hunt on Saturday, 16th August. Sun and a bit of wind. We managed to find some grasshoppers and a common blue butterfly.
Here is a list of what was found:
Family Bug Hunt, August 2013
Over twenty adults and children turned up for a hunt for bugs in Alexandra Park on a sun-blessed Sunday in August, 2013.
Rob Wallace kindly helped out as an expert identifier. He gave a quick briefing on how to use the sweep nets and where to search for invertebrates.
Lots of butterflies were seen including small copper, small blue, meadow brown, large white and gatekeeper. Both kids and adults enthusiastically hunted in the grass and shook the trees for creepy crawlies.
We found out about ladybird lifecycles and spotted many of them including 7 spot, 22 spot, harlequin and the best spot, an adonis ladybird. On the larger side, colourful buff-tip and cinnabar moth caterpillars were found and admired.
Bug Hunt, July 2012
Insect Hunt, August 2011
An insect hunt took place in Alexandra Park on Sunday 14th August, 2011.