Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Track down a tiger

Heath tiger beetle Image © J Adler

Britain’s largest tiger beetle is on the prowl on some special southern heathlands.

Pick a slightly cloudy day, when the adults will be a bit slower

Velvety brown in colour, with pale cream lightning flashes on the wing cases ( elytra ), the heath tiger beetle is a formidable predator, with large eyes and a fearsome pair of jaws.  Adults are quick hunters, running across bare ground to catch their invertebrate prey.  As larvae, they spend two years sitting in a tunnel in the sand, ambushing passers-by for a tasty snack.

This is a tiger in trouble: more than half of the heath tiger beetle’s populations are thought to have disappeared in the last 25 years, and they are now only found on a few dry heathlands in Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.  Over the past few years, Surrey Wildlife Trust has been busy creating new habitat for these endangered hunters on some of their reserves, cutting back invading birch and pine trees and clearing areas of bare sand. They have also been working to help restore Sussex heaths for this beetle.

How to do it

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…Of Britain’s five tiger beetles, only the green tiger beetle is common and widespread.  Iridescent green with pale spots and metallic pinky-bronze legs, try tracking it down (or seek its larval burrows) on bare sandy areas in heathland and moorland, in sand dunes or on sunny slopes on downland.

Special spots

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s heath tiger beetle project has improved habitat in a variety of sensitive and fragile places. For a chance of spotting this handsome tiger try Ash Ranges (but only when the MoD’s red flags are down!) 

Heath tiger beetle © J Adler

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