A brief and evolving list of great places to find and record ladybirds in North East England.
While out and about recording ladybirds over the last few years, I’ve found myself spending an increasing amount of time at specific local sites. Owing to a blend of habitat diversity and accessibility, these sites have come up trumps in terms of the sheer diversity of ladybirds present, including many of specialists seldom seen in the local area.
While this list is far from definitive and doubtless, many more sites are yet to be revealed, I hope this page gives a flavour of what could be encountered while visiting these places. I’ll aim to update this page as with more excellent spots for ladybirds in the North East as they come to light. I will also try to add some away from Newcastle in due course.
Havannah Nature Reserve
With a mix of heathland, wetland and both coniferous and broadleaf woodland crammed into a relatively small area, it is little surprise that Havannah Nature Reserve is so diverse. The real highlight here is the conifer specialists with Striped, 18-Spot and Pine Scymnus easy to come by and Eyed Ladybird and Black Scymnus also cropping up.
In addition to those above, the heathland at Havannah is a reliable spot for Adonis’ Ladybird, while the pools on site hold Water Ladybird and Red Marsh Ladybirds. Add to these a plethora of more familiar species including Kidney-spot, Pine and Larch ladybirds and the total species count for the site comes in at an impressive 19 species. As far as sites for ladybirds in the North East go, this has to be one of the best.
Gosforth Nature Reserve
NHSN’s Gosforth Nature Reserve is another site sporting a decent mix of woodland, wetland and grassland. While it is far harder work than Havannah, it has nevertheless turned up records of Striped Ladybird, Eyed Ladybird and Pine Scymnus in coniferous areas.
The wetlands hold Spotted Marsh Ladybird, Water Ladybird and Red Marsh ladybirds and the grassland areas have lots of 14-Spot and the occasional Adonis’ Ladybird. Pine Ladybird and Larch Ladybird can also be exceptionally abundant here resulting in a species tally of 17 species so far.
Given the number of pines on site, 18-Spot Ladybird has to be there somewhere…
Prudhoe’s chalk mounds make for an interesting walk whatever the season, though the chalk itself has little bearing on the ladybirds present. Once again, the diversity here stems from a nice mix of grassland, woodland and pools. The highlight across grassland areas here is 24-Spot Ladybird, a scarce species locally, while 18-Spot Ladybird and Pine Scymnus can be found in the pines alongside a host of more common species. Water Ladybird is also present on the nearby pools. Not too bad at 12 species so far but doubtless more to be discovered…
Jesmond Old Cemetery
The first local cemetery to make the list and a great place to visit during the winter months. Here, a fantastic range of ladybirds can be found overwintering on headstones including 10-Spot, Pine and Cream-spot Ladybirds. More interesting perhaps is the presence of a single large pine on site which in 2022 alone yielded sightings of 18-Spot, Adonis, and the locally scarce Cream-streaked Ladybird. A more modest 11 species this time but a great range for an inner city greenspace.
That big old pine tree must also hold Striped and Eyed Ladybird and it will be interesting to see if they pop up in the near future.
Another cemetery now and like Jesmond, one sporting a fantastic set of isolated conifers. With suitable habitat condensed into a relatively small area, it can be easy to find a host of specialists here and sightings to date include Eyed, Striped, Cream-streaked and 18-Spot Ladybirds, as well as Pine Scymnus. From Larch Ladybird to Orange Ladybird, the common city-dwelling species are also represented here producing a fantastic site list of some 12 species.
The industrial estate, riverside and nearby brownfield land at Newburn lends itself well to ladybird hunting. With a mix of grassland, ponds and evergreen planting, a good day can reveal a surprising number of ladybirds. This is one of only two sites in Newcastle (so far) where Rhyzobius chrysomeloides has been recorded and the grassland here also holds it’s cousin, Rhyzobius litura. Add to these Water Ladybirds around the pools, conifer specialists such as Striped and Eyed Ladybirds and plenty of common species and there’s an awful lot to see. 13 species and counting!