Tuesday, 20 June 2017

June 20th Colchester

Searching for Stag Beetles!
I have returned to Colchester to try again on finding a stag beetle. This time, my parents have decided to help find one with me. We are also trying another site that has them. High Woods Country Park may sound like a place in the countryside, but surprisingly, it is just on the edge of town. This place sounds amazing with a mixture of woodland, meadow and wetland habitats all a couple of miles from the town centre. But it is the woodland we wanted to explore as we were told that there is a fenced up area dedicated to stag beetle conservation. Behind the small square of fencing were piles of rotting logs and stumps for the stag beetles to develop as larvae. But though this seemed promising, we could not find a single beetle.

Grey Squirrel
After a lot of fruitless searching, we gave up and returned to the car park area for our picnic. We sat at a picnic table near the visitor centre and started to tuck into our sandwiches. It was a nervy lunch, at least for Mum as we were surrounded by squirrels and rats. Mum hates rats and didn't like the squirrels getting too close either. I didn't mind them, but she was in a bit of a state. At least the mistle thrushes were treated more warmly as we watched a pair making repeated visits to their nest high up in a crook of a tree branch to feed their hungry chicks waiting for them.

Brown Rat
Mistle Thrush
Black-clouded Longhorn Beetle
We then went into the town itself and checked out the places I visited last month. Once again, the stag beetles were a no show. It is quite annoying as the locals tell me that they've seen them in their gardens many times. They seem to be very common here, but it feels like you have to live here to see them. It doesn't help that they are more active at dusk, a time that is difficult for someone like me as I have travelled miles to get here and only have a limited time before needing to head back home. It is very frustrating and it seems like I will not see a stag beetle this year. I have failed, but maybe one day in the future I will get finally get the opportunity to see one.

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