This section is devoted to short accounts of sightings of wildlife in Allestree Park.
Any accounts of sightings, with or without photographs, no matter how common the species is, will be gratefully received for this section. Please send to Bill Grange
- see 'Contact Us' on Home Page.
23th April 2012:
I found a 'clump' of a slime mould, Lycogala terrestre, on a beech log in the wood which runs from near the Evergreen Hall to the Lake. Slime moulds are strange organisms. They aren't true fungi, having a stage in the life cycle resembling an amoeba - so they have animal characteristics, rather than plant. This species is particularly strking - but the spheres have little substance, breaking up into a red fluid if touched. There are many other species of slime mould, exhibiting a wide range of weird forms and colours. Bill Grange
A Slime Mould, Lycogala terrestre - Allestree Park, 23rd April 2012 - by Bill Grange
30th April 2012:
I was very pleased to see an Eyed Ladybird, the largest British species, in Allestree Park today - along Woodlands Lane. It is supposed to be widely distributed, but this is the first time I have seen it in this area. I did have a specimen from Mickleover brought in to me at Derby Museum (where I used to work) in 2005, but this is only the second Derbyshire record for me. It is the largest of the British ladybird species, larger than the invasive Harlequin. It is associated with conifer trees, but there are only a few pines in the nearby woods, so the find was unexpected. Bill Grange
Eyed Ladybird, Adalia ocellata - Allestree Park, 30th april, 2012 - by Bill Grange
6th September, 2012
I saw - and photographed acorn weevil, boring into an acorn on an oak along the path at the extreme south-west boundary of Allesree Park. To see a further report and pictures, click on the button below. Bill Grange
23rd-28th September, 2012
On beech log in woodland between Evergreen Hall and the Lake, Allestree Park
by Bill Grange
I photographed the stages in the growth of one of Britain's most beautiful fungi, the Porcelain Fungus. This species is rarely seen because it most often grows high up on the branches of beech trees. In this case, the fungi were growing on logs at ground level, from a beech which was felled in a storm several years ago. The site is along the path through the wood from the field at the back of the Evergreen Hall down to the Lake. To see more pictures of it (plus some of other fascinating fungi growing on the same log and in other parts of the Park this autumn, to which I am adding - so please keep looking at it), click on the button below. Bill Grange
12th Janury, 2013
On the upper lake in Allestree Park I saw a male Goosander which was diving constantly and clearly eating small items. Then it caught a big fish ! The gulls spotted it immediately and were all around the Goosander. Steve Plant
Photos and captions by Steve Plant
NOTE: The Goosander is a duck, a member of the 'sawbills', which have saw-like teeth on their bills, an adaptaton to help them to catch fish.
The Goosander is relatively common in Britain, though not seen all that often in Allestree Park.
8th April, 2014
A pair of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies engaged in courtship
Allestree Park, Large Field at East soide of the Park, 8th April 2014 by Bill Grange
While carrying out a butterfly survey in Allestree Park today, I photographed this pair of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies engaged in a courtship ritual. The male (bhind) is shown gently touching the female with his antennae. Both butterflies look slightly worn, this is because they have spent the winter hibernating, in a refuge away from the weather, in a hollow tree or clump of ivy, for example. It was a sunny day, but with a cool wind, so I was not expecting any butterflies to be about, let alone witness this interesting behaviour. The small tortoiseshell has suffered a severe decline over the last twenty yers ago. Last summer it enjoyed something of a recovery, which we hope will continue. Bill Grange
24th May, 2014
Parent Shield Bug (Elasmucha grisea)
TOP- Mating Pair
Bottom - Female guarding eggs
Woodlands field, on a silver birch tree, 24th May 2014
by Steve Plant
The Parent Shield Bug emerges in the spring after spending the winter in a sheltered place. Males and female mate, the male dying soon afterwards. The female lays her eggs on the leaves of birch, the food-plant of this species, and stays guard over the eggs, spraying a volatile evil-smelling vapour at any potential predator or parasite. After the eggs hatch, she carries on protecting the young in the same way. When the young have reached a further stage of development, both mother and young can be observed moving together from leaf to leaf. The mother eventually dies, the young going their separate ways and becoming fully mature in August. These then over-winter, thus completing the life cycle.
The Parent Shield Bug is supposedly common wherever birch grows, though this is the first time that Steve Plant and Bill Grange have seen the adults of this speies in Allestree Park. The photographs were taken bt Steve Plant on a guided walk, led by Bill Grange - for the Friends of Allestree Park, jointly with Derby Natural History Society. Bill Grange