Nature Notes: June
And, just like that, we’re in Summer and the longest day is nearly here. Whilst we may have been a little distracted by being able to get out and do more, nature has been getting on with its most productive time of year – the breeding season. If you’ve woken up early and popped your head outside recently, you’ll have heard the most spectacular dawn chorus – birds of all shapes and sizes signing as loud as they can to attract attention from the females of their species. At our house we’ve been watching some busy blue tits and house sparrows making nests and then – both can have more than one brood of chicks per year and each brood takes around 3 weeks to fledge. Blue tit parents will be busy in those three weeks – an average sized brood of chicks needs around 10,000 caterpillars and other invertebrates to get it to fledgling age!
Wildflowers start to bloom this month – foxgloves, ragged robin and oxeye daisies will all appear this month, starting to fill any wild spaces with colour. It’s really important to try and leave some space to go wild at this time of year so wildflowers have a space – we need them to support our pollinators, including bees, moths and butterflies. Pollinators are in decline because of a lack of food, due to the use of weed killers and people’s keenness to mow the grass short. However, we really need them to pollinate flowers and crops, so try and be a bit less tidy this year and leave a space for wildlife to thrive.
Environmental tip of the month: Shop local After a year of staying in our houses we’re making the most of socialising and being outside. But barbeques and picnics can make a lot of waste – reusable barbeques, food in plastic, drinks in bottles. So, as well as buying yourself a reusable barbeque, why not make a trip to your local butcher for the meat on your barbeque – higher quality, supporting a local butcher, and now some butchers are happy for you to bring your own containers to put your purchases in.
Nature Notes: Spring
April brings the start of Spring proper, with birds, bees, flowers and trees getting into full gear. The dawn chorus is at its most wonderful (if you’re up that early), and birds are busy building nests and feeding young. Bees are making the most of the Spring flowers, especially the dandelions that provide the first proper nectar source of the year. Wild garlic and wood anemones carpet woodland floors, soon to be replaced by swathes of bluebells. Hedges are coming into leaf, with vibrant new green leaves that are still delicate and susceptible to frost. Ponds are also coming alive, with wiggly tadpoles and the first invertebrates such as pond skaters making an appearance as the water warms. You may even see the odd Peacock butterfly basking in the first sun, as long as April is not too full of showers.
Over the next few months fruits trees will blossom and our summer visitors will arrive – a welcome sight after a cold and windy winter!
Environmental tip of the month: Are you a ‘google-er’? Did you know that Google is one of the most power hungry organisations in the world, with huge buildings full of computers ready to find the name of that song or the date of that important event for you? Whilst Google are carbon neutral, you can go one better – Ecosia (www.ecosia.org) is a carbon negative search engine and plants trees every time you search. At the time of writing they had planted over 1.2 billion trees around the world. By using them you can do something about mitigating the effects of climate change without leaving your house – the easiest kind of climate action! I’ve used Ecosia for around 4 years now, and now honestly find Google garish and horrible to use, so give it a go and stick with it.