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Wildlife Calendar - July


The wildlife garden is at its busiest in July - a visible change of flower colour from the fresh yellow and green of spring to the vibrant pink and purple of summer encourages more insects who love these colours and the abundant nectar on offer.

The increase in number of insects encourages other wildlife to the free feast – bats can be seen in the summer evenings circling around gardens using their sonar to avoid obstacles and snatch any unsuspecting moths and flies that stray up into their path. Many birds also catch insects either on the wing or in the hedgerow to feed their fledged families – young birds are very vulnerable at this stage, and rely on their parents to show them how to find food and look out for danger.

We encourage you to carry on feeding the birds across the summer – good seed mixes and sunflower hearts are welcome, as are suet-based foods for energy. A reminder to feed peanuts from a peanut feeder and not directly from the table as they are too big to swallow whole. Among the appreciative bird species you may see at your feeders are finches such as the colourful Bullfinches, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. Don’t forget the ground feeding birds too – Blackbirds and Thrushes are often happy to pick up scraps dropped from the feeders, but it’s also beneficial to set up a ground table for them.

One of the first birds to migrate south is the Cuckoo – the adult birds fly back to Africa in July, followed by their fledged young later in the year after their foster parents have reared them!

The meadow and flower borders will be buzzing with insect life. Meadow butterflies such as Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Skipper are on the wing at the start of the month, followed by hedgerow species such as Gatekeeper, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks later in July. If you were to have a pocket meadow and a patch of nettles in a sunny part of your garden, then you will be providing larval foodplants for all these species of butterfly and they will stay from year to year.

Garden ponds may be a little green with the flush of algae in the sun, but will be colourful (Marsh Marigolds and Water Lillies) and lively – froglets and toadlets will be leaving the water to find another suitable damp habitat to colonise – maybe your log pile! Overhead, the powerful dragonflies and dainty damselflies will catch smaller flies in mid-air above the pond and then land to consume them. Their egg-laying antics are a must-see for anyone – after coupling, some inch down the reeds to push through the water surface and lay underwater, others acrobatically flick their abdomen through the water membrane while in flight to drop their eggs into the pond like mini bombs.

Wildlife Pond

Among the mammals out and about, you may catch a glimpse of a new hedgehog family after dark. You can buy special hedgehog food to leave in a bowl, and don’t forget to leave water while the garden is dry for all larger mammals and birds – connecting up a water butt to a drainpipe will provide all the water you will need to top up the supply.