Whether in your garden or out on a walk, nature is happening all around us. Find out what you should look out for this month to spot the very best the wild world has to offer.
- Say goodbye to swifts. Throughout July they’ll be heading south but if the weather is right you might see large numbers pass through coastal locations - do you know your swifts from your swallows?
- It’s also time to say cheerio to cuckoos as the adults head back to their tropical wintering grounds.
- Our wetlands will be getting busier as the first of our returning waders make an appearance. Look out for green sandpipers, dunlin and knot
- Finches on the feeders! Late summer is great time to watch young birds learning how to figure out your garden bird feeders.
- Particularly look out for goldfinches who will also be investigating any thistles and teasels you might have in your garden.
On your walks...
- Listen out for fledging buzzards! Because they don't need to hide from predators they can be extremely noisy and obvious!
- Just like human babies young birds don't always stick to the schedule. Look out for adult hunting barn owls trying to feed their needy chicks during the day.
- Wherever there are dragonflies look out for hobbies hunting overhead. These small falcons specialise in catching flying insects as well as birds and they’ll be feeding hungry chick through July.
- During hot weather look out for an abundance of dragonflies at a local pond. This month common darters and migrant hawkers will join the earlier emergence of emperors and broad-bodied chasers.
- This your last chance to head out and look for glow worms. Look out for the females who will be trying to attract males with her glowing body.
- Some species of butterfly which we see in the spring reappear later in the year which is called a second brood. Look out for brimstones and small tortoiseshells in particular.
- Look out for elephants! In late summer you might be able to see elephant hawk-moth caterpillars feeding on your garden larvae. Don't worry, they shouldn’t eat the whole plant! They’ll soon be fully fed and wander off to pupate underground where they’ll turn into that amazing pink moth.
- If you are lucky enough to have hedgehogs visit your garden they could be joined by their young during July. The hoglets will be big enough to join their mum as she visits gardens to forage. Also don’t forget to provide water during hot weather!
- Fox cubs will now be getting larger and more independent and exploring their environment.
Reptiles and Amphibians
- Look out for toad and froglets! They will be leaving ponds but will still be small so be careful when you’re doing any gardening. You could make a log pile near your garden pond which toads especially will enjoy.
- Keep and close eye on your compost heap as grass snakes could be looking to lay their eggs deep inside as it will be the perfect temperature to develop her eggs.
- Knapweed is in full flower providing a beautiful purple flush to wildflower meadows browning in the mid-summer sun.
- Watch out for parasitic plants! Broomrapes don’t need to photosynthesise like other plants as they get all their energy from parasitising the roots of many species of plants.
- July is also a good time to look for sundew which are carnivorous plants and feed on a wide variety of insects. These are found in boggy on heathlands which can sometimes dry out by late summer.