This is just what happened to regular visitor and keen photographer Sarah West who saw what she thought was a wasp sitting on a leaf.
|An unusual wasp, or is it? © Sarah West|
Early last year I asked local spider expert Alan Thornhill if he would be interested in surveying Lackford Lakes for spiders. He said he was very interested and got to work straight away setting up pitfall traps in various locations around the reserve and it was so successful, he carried on surveying right through till autumn 2017. Along the way he found some interesting spiders with varying degrees of rarity and then he found something rather special. It was special because it had never been found in Suffolk before AND it is in serious decline through loss of habitat. The spider has the name of Haplodrassus silvestris and again has no common name. It has probably been living at Lackford since it became a reserve and it's a credit to the hard work of the Trust and its volunteers that create the habitat that it still exists at Lackford today.
I myself am often seen out on the reserve when I get the chance, looking for my specialty, bees and wasps. Over the last few years, I too have made some discoveries at Lackford including another first for Suffolk this year in the shape of the Early Mining Bee, a species usually found in sand dunes in the west and north west of the country, and here it is for the first time in Suffolk and again listed as rare. When I first started working here at Lackford 3 years ago, I found around 6 Large-headed Resin Bees nesting in a piece of old timber outside the centre. This was a rare bee and this was only the 7th record for Suffolk at the time.
|Large-headed resin bee capping her nest outside the visitor centre.|
I installed a solitary bee hotel and this year the bee is doing very well and can be found nesting in a variety of places around the reserve. This expansion in species in turn brought another rarity to the reserve in the form of a jewel wasp known as Chrysis gracillima, only recorded in Suffolk twice before.
Volunteer James Robinson managed to photograph this Silver-washed Fritillary whilst doing a dragonfly survey.
|Silver-washed Fritillary © James Robinson|
Now we have the opportunity to extend the nature reserve by another 77 acres of prime Breckland grassland habitat. This will not only provide nesting sites for birds such as Stone Curlew, but will also be home to a whole host of insects too. Who knows how many rarities may be living there?
Without doubt, it would seem that all around us there are things waiting to be discovered, we just need to take the time to look at the little things too.
By Hawk Honey - Visitor Officer