Hi - i am new to the site but had to join because i have just for the first time seen a flying stag beetle.I have seen others in the garden in previous years but never seen them flying before. I know they are an endangered species so am happy to report they are alive and well in West London
This is good news Mo and I'm very pleased to hear how excited you are - and so you should be. The Stag beetle, Lucanus cervus, can be seen on the wing in the south east from the middle of May for about 4 - 6 weeks. Usually, in my experience, the first week of June is the best week to observe them and the best time is the hour or so before dusk. This year however, everything is a few weeks behind so I have been wondering how late the Stag beetles will be this year. Only this morning on the way to work I was looking for evidence, a dismembered one that has been eaten by crows or a squashed on on the road - but nothing to be seen. The weather over the next few days, hot and humid, should bring them out so I will be looking out in the gardens near me over the next few evenings. I catch all that I find in and flying through my garden and mark them with a number before release to see how many I have recorded - one year about 6-7 years ago I had 24 in a single evening, which would have been several cohorts emerging on the same evening.
Sittings can be reported to the PTES here: http://ptes.org/?page=392
Let us know if you see any more.
Thank you for the interesting post - i have now reported the signing on the link you gave me, together with information of the sightings i have seen in the garden in previous years. The beetle i saw was flying very fast - initially it landed on a bush in the garden (my garden has a natural habitat and is similar to a woodland) and then flew up to the roof of the house and then descended into some immature trees and I lost it then. But I will certainly go back outside at dusk to see if I can see more. The beetle I saw was extremely large so I am assuming it was a male...
Mo - I had another look for evidence this morning as the conditions for Stag beetles were perfect yesterday evening. Sadly here it is, a predator of some ilk has had its tea/breakfast the way the wing cases (elytra) are crunched it does not necessarily look like a bird (corvid) so perhaps a fox or hedgehog.
Anyway they are 'oot and aboot' so time to do some serious looking over the next few evenings.
Hi - an update on the situation here in the garden - two evenings ago we found a live walking stag beetle exploring the greenhouse (maybe interested in the soft mulch of the tomato plants?). It then decided to climb the bamboo canes and my son took some photos (shortly to be downloaded here). We then safely took it to an old ash tree rotting stump where it wandered around and then started burrowing. Imagine our excitement when another stag beetle became unearthed! It seemed groggy at first and then quite lively. I wondered what their reaction would be to each other but they seemed oblivious to each other and passed by quite closely to each other. I took a small video with the IPhone and will try to also download that. However the original beetle then decided to leave the woodpile and slowly crept across an open area and headed for the drains at the back of the house and hid behind the soil stack. It then became dark so we don't know if it headed back to the woodpile later.
All excitement here!
The following morning we found a dead stag beetle in another part of the garden, on its back but still fully formed and had not been eaten.
This evening have just seen 2 individual flying stag beetles again in the same area although much later than before ( at 10pm although it is still lightish outside. I will record them on the website you have given me.