July is a great month to catch sight of a variety of beautiful butterflies, including the chalkhill blue, marbled white, purple hairstreak, white admiral and silver washed fritillary. Keep your eye out for these colourful creatures everywhere, but especially in some of our nature reserves - Powerstock Common, Kingcombe Meadows, Lorton Meadows and South Poorton. It’s not only the butterflies out in force this month; July is a great time to see dragonflies and damselflies on the wing, in an array of fantastic colours. Take a look at some in this great video.
Or you can try sitting out with a bright light over the next couple of months and see what moths you can spot, whilst listening to the sounds of the crickets and grasshoppers welcoming in the summer.The evenings are a great time to see if you can spot any bats, try sitting in your back garden and watching out for small pipistrelles flying around. Check out the video below of the brown long-eared bats we have in the roof of our Urban Wildlife Centre!
This month is also a great month to spot birds fledging, including our own kestrel and barn owl chicks. If you do find a fledgling, it is best to leave it alone and not interfere with it, the chances are that the parent bird will return. This is a good month to get confused with your bird identification, with all the young birds about, as well as the bedraggled and exhausted adults losing their feathers.
In the fields
July is the perfect time to visit some Wildflower meadows. Make sure you catch a hay meadow before it is cut, such as our Kingcombe Meadows reserve. Look out for yellow rattle, which is a great meadow plant, suppressing grasses and allowing other wild flowers a chance to flourish. Also known as hay rattle, the seeds should be ripe and rattling by now, indicating that the field is ready to cut (hence the name).
Some of the beautiful wild flowers that are in bloom this month include lady’s bedstreaw, knapweed, bird’s foot trefoil, oxe-eye daisy and betony.
As well as flowers the different grasses are at their peak, including the delicate yellow oat-grass and Dorset’s famous chalk grassland which can be seen at Fontmell Down nature reserve.
Under the sea
Finally if you’re heading to the coast this month keep a look out for mackerel, jellyfish, cuttlefish and corkwing wrasse building their nests. Have a look at the amazing video below to see proof that fish really do buildnests too!
You might even be lucky enough to see sunfish, dolphins or basking sharks as our waters warm up (we hope!)