Nature's Calendar: June

Hurrah for June! It’s been a warm and sunny start to the year. Let’s hope it continues, allowing us to get out and about to look for birds, butterflies and blooms in June.

From baby birds to bat pups, fragrant elderflower to colourful moths, there’s plenty to see this month. Discovered something new for you? Share your findings with us on our Facebook community. 

Pictures of fledglings: Wren, blue tit and starling.

New birds on the block

Fluffy fledglings inbound! Baby birds that are out and about in June have made it through the trials of incubation and hatching to reach the fledgling stage, when they are ready to leave the nest. During this time, they’re vulnerable as they learn to fly, fine tune feeding skills and develop predator awareness. It’s a tough time!

Parent birds will be foraging for food such as earthworms and caterpillars. If the weather turns very wet or dry, natural food shortages can be a problem. It’s a good idea to supplement by putting out high protein bird food such as fat balls and mealworms. Regularly topping up bird baths is a great way to help garden birds too.

If you find a baby bird that looks a little lost, follow our guide on what to do.

Close up picture of a turtle dove.

Turtle doves calling

Now is the time to keep your ears open and eyes peeled for turtle doves in the UK, as they should have arrived back in the UK after a long trip from Africa. You’ll be lucky to see a turtle dove, as they are the fastest-declining bird in the UK, with this species on the Red List of UK Birds of Conservation Concern. They tend to be found in southern and eastern England, although some birds do venture as far as Wales. Find them in woodland edges, hedgerows and farmland.

Operation Turtle Dove is a conservation project that aims to save turtle doves along their migratory route and here in the UK. By working with farmers and landowners, we’re creating feeding and nesting habitats in the south east. If you spy a turtle dove, you can record your sighting on BirdTrack.

Help bring back our spring birds

There are now 70 species on the Red List of UK Birds of Conservation Concern, many of them migratory birds. Turtle doves, swifts, curlews and more are struggling, and we urgently need to provide them a warm welcome back to the UK. Together, we can save them.

Pictures of red admiral, peacock and comma butterflies.

All aflutter

June’s warm sunny days offer a welcome sight of butterflies flitting around gardens and parks. Common butterflies include the majestic peacocks, with their red colouring and striking eye-like patterns. You might also spot commas - orange butterflies with black speckled wings, or perhaps a red admiral, with black, red and white markings.

 

June can bring a small dip in the number of butterflies about, as the first cycle of double-brooding butterflies tends to have passed by June. While the next wave of eggs and caterpillars are maturing, the adults fade away, leaving a temporary decline in butterflies that should bounce back by July.

 

If you’re sitting out on a warm evening, you should hopefully spot some moths too. Glorious elephant hawk-moths are always a treat to see, with their large pink and green wings. White ermines look like they’re wrapped up in a spotty fur coat, while cinnabar moths are distinctive, with their black and red wings.

Dusk acrobats

And speaking of dusk, where there are moths, there’ll likely be bats! Come June, most female bats have given birth to a single pup, which they nurse with milk. Female bats need a lot of energy at this stage, and can catch thousands of insects in a single night.

At around three weeks, the young bats start to fly and learn to catch insects. They are weaned off their mother’s milk gradually, and are likely to remain in the roost after weaning.

Sometimes young bats can be found on the ground, as they learn to fly. If you find a bat that looks in need of rescue, The Bat Conservation Trust has a good step by step guide on what to do, if anything at all.

Close-up shot of some red poppies in a field.

June blooms

Come June, many of our favourite wild and native flowers are coming into bloom. Walks through woodland may reveal foxglove glades, while fields can erupt in poppies, buttercups and daisies. Hedgerows will also burst to life, with scrambling dog rose and fragrant elder both in flower.

 

The flowers of all these species are a good source of nectar for many pollinators, and will look beautiful in gardens if you’re keen to plant for nature. Or, if you’re looking to get into foraging, elder is a delightful place to start. It’s fun and easy to make an elderflower cordial that’s far better than shop-bought!

Nature on your doorstep in June

Put up nest boxes

It’s not too late in the year to put up nest boxes in your outdoor patch. To help spring migratory birds, why not try a swift nest box, house martin home, or swallow nest cup? Or you could even make your own high home for swifts.

 

Find out more about migratory birds

Migratory birds are struggling, but there is hope if we work together. Our latest article explores how we’re tackling some of the threats facing migratory birds, and how together we can save them. Discover what you can do to help the birds.