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Wildlife Calendar - June

WILDLIFE CALENDAR - JUNE




Summer is here and there is so much life and colour in the garden to admire, so sit back and enjoy the long days! In June you are free to plant out the most tender of annuals from the greenhouse, with a risk of frost behind you, and is the time to start mowing the Spring-flowering meadow after flowers have set seed and fallen. You can then get pleasure from a Summer meadow that will have a patchwork of bright colourful nectar flowers until late Autumn to the delight of the local insects (and you!)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) and English Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) are a must for any wildlife garden, attracting bees, butterflies and hoverflies throughout the summer, and the flowers of the hedgerow are also a delight in June - Dog Rose (Rosa canina), Foxgloves (Digitalis sp.) and Red Campion (Silene dioica) to name a few.

It is always tempting to reach for the insecticide spray when aphids and other pests start to attack your plants, but leave them a little while and you will start to see natural predators such as ladybirds and their dark wingless young grazing on the aphids. They are also a good source of food for small birds and their young.

Adult birds are very busy tending to their growing chicks - predominantly insects are gathered to be fed, with some trips to the bird table for seed and nuts to top up their own energy reserves. Remember not to leave any whole peanuts on the table, as there is a chance that fledglings will choke. Once the fledglings are ready, they will be coaxed away from the nest by their eager but exhausted parents - the first sun of the day is a good time for this. The young are allowed to explore their new environment but parents are always close at hand to give them a tasty morsel every now and then and use their alarm call to warn of predator danger.

Blue Tit and Great Tit fledglings can be distinguished from their parents by a lighter colouring, and Blackbirds are speckled like their mother and a little bedraggled. Swallows and House Martins are swooping over meadows and water for flying insects to feed the young in their mud nests under the eves of houses and on the rafters of outbuildings.

As the weather becomes drier, the natural food of slugs and earthworms for Hedgehogs will be dwindling - supplement with specially formulated dried food to help build up fat reserves. In addition a water bowl is a great idea - leave alongside the food to provide moisture.