Wild Marlow's Top 12 Chosen Species

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    Barn Owl

    With a heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white underparts, the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird. Widely distributed across the UK, and indeed the world, this bird has suffered a decline in numbers through the 20th century.

    • Scientific name: Tyto alba
    • What they eat: Mice, voles, shrews and some larger mammals and small birds.
    • Protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

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    The black-and-white striped badger is an iconic species in the UK and our biggest land predator. It is a common species, turning up in gardens, as well as inhabiting woodland, farmland and grassland.

    • Scientific name: Meles meles
    • What they eat: Small mammals, ground-nesting bird, eggs, earthworms, fruit, roots and bulbs
    • Protected in the UK under the Protection of Badgers Act, 1992, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

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    Military Orchid

    The Military Orchid is now extremely rare in England, but we are lucky enough to have some in Marlow. It was thought to be extinct in the UK after 1930 until it was spotted hiding in Bucks in 1947.

    • Scientific name: Orchis militaris
    • Habitat: This orchid grows on alkaline substrates in meadows, in scrub and woodland edges. It flowers in May and June
    • Protected by Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

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    Stag Beetle

    The UKs largest beetle and one of our most spectacular insects. They spend most of their life underground as larvae, only emerging for a few weeks in the summer to find a mate and reproduce. Stag beetles and their larvae are quite harmless and are a joy to watch.

    • Scientific name: Lucanus cervus
    • Habitat: They spend most of theirlives as larvae underground in rotting wood, between 3-7 years.
    • Protected by Schedule5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

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    The UKs only spiny mammal. In the summer they spend most of the day sheltering in a nest of leaves, moss and grass. They come out at night and can be heard snuffling and grunting as they forage for food. In the autumn they find a sheltered spot, often under a hedgerow, to hibernate.

    • Scientific name: Erinaceus europaeus
    • What they eat: Slugs, snails, beetles and earthworms, birds, eggs, nestlings and carrion.
    • Protected by Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

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    Small Tortoiseshell

    The Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly is a common site in UK gardens, but numbers have been declining in the upper Thames area, 80 %in the last 40 years. They are one of the first butterflies to spot in Spring.

    • Scientific name: Aglais urticae
    • Habitat: These butterflies benefit greatly from wild areas in gardens, so leave some nettles for their caterpillars and plant flowering plants like buddleja

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    Noctule Bat

    The Noctule Bat is one of the largest British species and is usually the first to appear in the evening. They have a characteristic powerful, direct flight on narrow pointed wings. They fly in the open, often will above tree tops, with repeated steep dives when chasing insects. They can fly up to 50 kph.

    • Scientific name: Nyctalus noctula
    • What they eat: Moths, Mayflies, Beetles, Winged Ants
    • Protected by Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

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    Red Kite

    This magnificent bird of prey is unmistakable with it's red-brown body, angles wings and forked tail. It was saved from national extinction by one of the longest running protection programmes. It has now been successfully re-introduced to England & Scotland.

    • Scientific name: Milvus milvus
    • What they eat: Mainly carrion and worms
    • Protected by Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

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    There are currently 24 species of Bumblebee in the UK. Bumblebees are large, furry, and charismatic four-winged insects that belong to an order called the Hymenoptera. They are well-known for their meandering, 'bumbling' flight, and their distinctive buzz. Unlike the Honey bee, bumblebees do not make honey, as they do not need to store food for winter.

    • Habitat: Bumblebees are great pollinators helping our food crops and wildflowers alike. Sadly their numbers are declining due to loss of habitat and farming practices.
    • Bees are endangered but not protected

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    Slow Worm

    Despite the name and appearance, the Slow Worm is a legless Lizard, not a snake or a worm. It's identity is given away by its ability to shed its tail and blink with its eye lids. They are completely harmless.

    • Scientific name: Anguis fragilis
    • Habitat: They can be found basking in the sun on heathlands and grasslands, and can even be found in gardens where they favour compost heaps.
    • Protected by Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

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    The swift is a medium-sized aerial bird, which is a superb flier. It evens sleeps on the wing! It is plain sooty brown, but in flight against the sky it appears black. It has long, scythe-like wings and a short, forked tail. It is a summer visitor, breeding across the UK, but most numerously in the south and east. It winters in Africa

    • Scientific name: Apus apus
    • What they eat: Swifts feed almost exclusively on the aerial plankton of flying insects and airborne spiders of small to moderate size.
    • Protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

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    Common Toad

    Common toads are amphibians, breeding in ponds during the spring and spending much of the rest of the year feeding in woodland, gardens, hedgerows and tussocky grassland. They are famous for their mass migrations back to their breeding ponds on the first warm, damp evenings of the year, often around St. Valentine's Day.

    • Scientific name: Bufo bufo
    • What they eat: Generally speaking, toads eat nearly anything they can fit in their mouth. They're carnivorous and enjoy eating live prey.
    • Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.