Key species

Stag beetle

Look for

  • reddish-brown wing cases and shiny black head
  • males have large, reddish-brown antlers, while females have pincers
  • adults can grow up to 4cm in length
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Encouraging this species

Stag beetles like undisturbed, rotting deadwood, so try making a log pile in a shaded part of your garden.

Alternatively, make holes in an ordinary plastic bucket and fill it with 1/4 soil and 3/4 wood chips.

Dig a hole in an undisturbed area of your garden and bury the bucket with the top at ground level.

Bullfinch

Look for

  • grey back, white rump and black cap
  • breast and cheeks are bright pink (males) or a dull pinkish-brown colour (females)
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Encouraging this species

Plant native trees and shrubs which will provide shelter and produce seeds, berries and buds that provide food.

Avoid using pesticides as these kill insects that bullfinches also feed on.

Great crested newt

Look for

  • black warty skin and a row of white spots running along the side of the head and body
  • male great crested newts have a jagged side running along their back (with a clear break between the back and tail) which the females lack. Adults can grow up to 17cm in length
  • orange-yellow underbelly with distinctive black
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Encouraging this species

Make a wildlife pond with plenty of aquatic vegetation.

Avoid keeping fish as they can eat newt tadpoles.

Surround the pond with habitats such as undisturbed grassland, hedges, trees and scrub.

Swifts

Look for

  • swifts are summer visitors to the UK
  • they typically nest in roof spaces, under tiles, or in the eaves of buildings
  • dull sooty-brown colour with a pale chin
  • when viewed from below against the sky they can appear almost black
  • long, scythe shaped wings and short, forked tail
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Encouraging this species

The majority of modern houses do not provide suitable crevices for swifts to nest in, so the best way to encourage them is to install a swift box.