Maria Longley, GiGL Community Manager
For several years now, one of our most reliable signs of spring at GiGL has been the trickle of stag beetle records sent via our website. The first records in March and April herald the upcoming busy season of stag beetle spotting and recording.
The stag beetle survey, run in conjunction with London Wildlife Trust, is one of our most long-standing partnership surveys. Londoners have been sending in their records since the 1980s. In these early days, people would post their sightings on a pre-printed postcard to the LWT office. Today, people are more likely to tell us where they found the beetle on Staggering Gains, our online web form. These fascinating creatures have been found in all manner of locations, from the benign “walking slowly towards the hairdressers”, to the concerning; “on its back, barely surviving an interaction with two members of Homo sapiens”.
Hosting online data collection forms is a service GiGL offers to all partners. Over the years, we have created forms that are site-specific, species-specific, or both; providing an easy way for many people to contribute their knowledge. All this goes towards creating a shared evidence-base that is used to inform conservation work, land management decisions, research, and policy work.
The public are still the best source of stag beetle sightings and continue to help the London Wildlife Trust in their work to conserve and manage habitats for this species. London remains a hotspot for stag beetles despite a decline across Europe. The long running nature of this support from the public to record stag beetles has provided valuable insights for London.