Introducing the Erewash Valley Wildlife “Biopedia” – a collection of articles and photos on specific species, written and taken by locals. A guide to the wildlife of the Valley, and a reference for some of our common and rarer species.

This is a brand new section and so will take a while to grow, we hope that people will contribute to this section to allow it to grow – expanding and sharing their knowledge of species in the local area.

This needs *your* input so please submit articles and photos following the instructions here, and choose one of the categories under the Biopedia section. This is a collaborative section, and so feel free to add comments, changes or photos to existing articles (I need to check out if this is possible but for now certainly comment).


Dragonflies and Damselflies
Crickets and Grasshoppers
Other Invertebrates
Reptiles and Amphibians


      Freshwater Widllife


          Plants and Flowers

          Long Eaton Waxwings

          Hi all, this is my first attempt to post a sighting on here so hopefully it works. On February 11th and March 1st I have seen around 20-30 waxwings in a large tree on Aldi’s car park in Long Eaton; on both occasions they were coming down to almost ground level to feed on the

          Dutchman’s Pipe – Ilkeston speciality

          I notice the Yellow Bird’s Nest plant found by Ross Purdy at Ilkeston has its own paragraph in the Feature article of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s ‘Wild Derbyshire’ Magazine (Winter 2012 pg 29). The rarity of this plant in the County is noted. I do not know whether DWT has taken any more action in terms


          A Big Old Arachnid Pt 2: Araneus diadematus

          To add to Paul’s recent post about Araneus quadratus, here are a few photos of its close relative A diadematus for comparison.  A variable species but always with a white cross or dagger mark on the abdomen.  A common site around gardens and hedgerows in the autumn.

          Southern Hawker picture

          Picture of Southern Hawker for comparison with Paul’s Migrant Hawker. Note the broad antehumeral stripes on the thorax, the near-triangular rather than ‘golf tee’ yellow mark and the bands near tip of abdomen. Jim


          Migrant Hawker. Aeshna mixta

          Length: 63mm A small Hawker, not aggressive towards other individuals and occasionally seen in large feeding swarms. It flies late into the autumn and is likely to be the only Hawker found in November. The costa is brown and there is a “golf-tee” shaped, yellow mark on S2. The male looks quite dark with blue,


          A Big Old Arachnid. Araneus quadratus

          If you have a wander over to Straw’s Bridge and then have a look in the rank grass to the left of the lake you’ll come across one big spider. Araneus quadratus is our heaviest spider with individuals weighing up to 2 grams. It’s an Autumn maturing spider and an orb weaver. It prefers a


          Saw 2 Jays yesterday Shipley View

          Common Quaker

          Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)

          I thought I would keep up with my moth theme and add another Noctuid for your viewing pleasure. A variable but generally brown month with distinct pale fringes to the oval and kidney marks and a pale outer cross line.  The wing tip is fairly rounded.  Wing length 13 – 17 mm.  Common in gardens

          Hebrew Character

          Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)

          Wing span 15 – 20 mm, this is a common moth in spring (March to May although some individuals will fly in mild winter spells).  This individual came to a moth trap on 29th February 2012 and is a male.  They are regular at MV light.  It can be found in many habitats, including gardens.


          A Celebration Of Snowdrops.

          A distinctly springlike feel to today and no better way to signal the warmer seasons are on the way than the arrival of our beautiful little Snowdrops. Here’s a few facts… Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are one of the first bulbs to flower and signal the start of spring. The flower is a symbol of hope.


          Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus).

          The whooper swan is a large white swan, similar size to Mute Swans and bigger than the similar looking Bewick’s swan. It has a long thin neck, which it usually holds erect, and black legs. Its black bill has a large triangular patch of yellow on it. It is mainly a winter visitor to the


          Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus).

          This is a pale, black-spotted thrush – large, aggressive and powerful. It stands boldly upright and bounds across the ground while in flight, it has long wings and its tail has whitish edges. It is most likely to be noticed perched high at the top of a tree, singing its fluty song or giving its


          Goosander (Mergus merganser).

          These handsome diving ducks are a member of the sawbill family, so called because of their long, serrated bills, used for catching fish. A largely freshwater bird, the goosander first bred in the UK in 1871. It built up numbers in Scotland and then since 1970 it has spread across N England into wales, reaching


          Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus).

          The waxwing is a plump bird, which is slightly smaller than a starling. It has a prominent crest. It is reddish-brown with a black throat, a small black mask round its eye, yellow and white in the wings and a yellow-tipped tail. It does not breed in the UK, but is a winter visitor, in

          Water Rail

          Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

          Water Rail are a shy bird related to the Moorhen and Coot, they more often heard rather than seen and usually picked out by their “stuck pig” squeals in the reeds. They are usually found in reeds on marshy, boggy ground and by lakes and streams, and views are usually gained as they move rapidly

          Fallow Deer (1)

          Fallow Deer (Dama dama).

          Fallow deer are a widespread species of deer in Britain. Originally from the Mediterranean and middle east, these deer were spread across Europe by the Romans and introduced to British parks and forests by the Normans in the 11th century. They spend most of the year in single sex herds, only coming together in autumn


          Pochard (Aythya ferina).

          In winter and spring, male pochards are very distinctive. They have a bright reddish-brown head, a black breast and tail and a pale grey body. Females are more easily confused with other species; they are brown with a greyish body and pale cheeks. However, during the ‘eclipse’ – when ducks grow new feathers – the


          Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides).

          A small Heron that is more likely to be found in Southern Europe and the Middle East. A bird that normally over winters in Africa obviously can’t resist the charms of the Erewash Valley any longer and we can proudly add it to our list!! Most likely to be seen under a railway bridge on


          Teal (Anas crecca).

          Teals are small dabbling ducks. Males have chestnut coloured heads with broad green eye-patches, a spotted chest, grey flanks and a black edged yellow tail. Females are mottled brown. Both show bright green wing patches (speculum) in flight. They are thinly distributed as a breeding species with a preference for northern moors and mires. In

          little egret (2)

          Little Egret (Egretta garzetta).

          The little egret is a small white heron with attractive white plumes on crest, back and chest, black legs and bill and yellow feet. It first appeared in the UK in significant numbers in 1989 and first bred in Dorset in 1996.  It is now at home on numerous south coast sites, both as a


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