New species added to Panshanger Park’s wildlife list

PUBLISHED: 09:23 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:21 16 March 2017

The fold-winged crane fly is related to the familiar daddy longlegs.

The fold-winged crane fly is related to the familiar daddy longlegs.

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A fresh analysis of wildlife at a country park on the fringes of Welwyn Garden City has revealed 180 additional species were recorded there last year.

New species found in Panshanger Park in 2016

GREY PLOVER - a wading bird that does not breed in Britain, but occurs on estuaries in large numbers in winter. Scarce in Hertfordshire and other inland counties.

JACK SNIPE - smaller and much rarer than the familiar common snipe, with a shorter bill and subtly different plumage.

RED-CRESTED POCHARD - colourful duck from southern Europe that is popular in collections. Has recently bred in Hertfordshire, probably involving escaped birds, although genuine vagrants occur as well.

REDSHANK - wading bird easily recognised by its orange legs.

LEISLER’S BAT - otherwise known as the lesser noctule, it is identified by bicoloured fur and distinctive two-note echolocation call.

FOLD-WINGED CRANE FLY - one of a 15,000-strong insect family that includes the familiar daddy longlegs.

GLOW WORM - the adult females of these beetles shine brightly at night to attract potential mates, but die after just three weeks as they can’t feed.

At a recent biodiversity conference held at Hatfield’s University of Hertfordshire, Ian Carle of Herts Environmental Records Centre summarised the 3,569 records submitted in 2016.

These included 180 previously unrecorded species, taking the park’s all-time list to 2,494.

The new sightings included five birds that would be relatively easy for an amateur to find and identify - grey plover, jack snipe, red-crested pochard, redshank, and rock dove,

But only an expert would be likely to find a Leisler’s bat or a fold-winged crane fly.

Most of the new species were plants or insects, including the charismatic glow worm.Michael Charlton, Tarmac’s restoration manager, said, “The conference went very well and we were thrilled at the findings presented. A huge amount of this information is gathered thanks to volunteers getting involved with species monitoring in the park and it’s very exciting to hear about the new wildlife that is making Panshanger home.”

The conference attracted about 40 people, who also enjoyed talks on brown trout ecology; barbastelle bats; bird-ringing and monitoring; and riverflies.


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