June with Durham Wildlife Trust

Karen Forster News

BALTIC kittiwakes. Image Credit: Michael Coates

As summer starts to swing, we welcome the warmer weather and new life June brings. As the sun rises early and sets late, on June 21st we have the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, to celebrate.Trees are now in full leaf and when their canopies cast shade on our woodland floor we look to the light in our meadows, hedgerows and gardens to explore.  Meadows are bursting with wildflowers, orchids and butterflies, look out for grasshoppers and crickets leaping about.

The scent of summer is sweetened by the arrival of the wild pink dog-rose and the honeysuckle, blowing its trumpet shaped flowers.

Over ponds and lakes dragonflies and damselflies buzz, trying to find someone who wants to make love. A medley of insect sounds can be heard in June and as you look up you may see swifts, swallows, housemartins, and even jumping trout, trying to gobble them up.

As we take to our gardens we’ll be joined by the birds, who pop out of their nest to find insects, as attention turns from their songs being sung to feeding their young.  Bird colonies nesting along sea cliffs, or contemporary art galleries, provide a spectacular sight, as eggs start to hatch and break into life.  Don’t forget to keep an eye on our BALTIC kittiwake cam.

With the arrival of warm summer nights, bats and moths also take flight and badger cubs may be seen out and about.  Hedgehogs also celebrate new life, you may hear their parents foraging for food at night.

This month, with so much to see, The Wildlife Trusts challenge you to do something wild every day. If you haven’t picked up your free 30 Days Wild pack you can do so here.  We also have a packed month of events so that, whether you take the full challenge or not, you’ll be feeling happier, healthier and more connected to nature this June.

As we start the month in Volunteers’ Week we’d like to say a big thank you to our volunteers who contributed 6,587 days of their time last year.  For those interested in volunteering please get in touch.

On Thursday 1st we start the month Wild About Derwent Valley as we explore the Red Burn and Pontburn Wood and create some nature art.

We will be telling stories of Woodland Fairies and Monsters, as we let our imaginations run wild at Rainton Meadows on Friday 2nd.

On Saturday 3rd at Swalwell Visitors Centre we are having A White-Letter Day, surveying the life of the hard to spot butterfly, whilst our Wildlife Watch Group try to uncover camouflaged mini beasts at Low Barns.

We are calling all brave young explorers to join us on a search for Monsters in the Dene on Sunday 4th.

Bright Water meet at Mainsforth Sports Complex on Tuesday 6th for a walk across the former wetlands and DWT Botany Group undertake a site survey at Witton Gilbert.  On Thursday 8th the botanists are also at Rainton Meadows getting to grips with grasses.  With over 160 species of grasses in the UK, it’s harder than you might think.

On Saturday 10th join our Woodland Plant Detectives in Chopwell Woods Classroom and learn how to identify plants and discover how different species help wildlife and people.

Tuesday 13th sees the Lanchester Wildlife Group take a trip to Westgate in Weardale for a guided botany walk around Slit Wood.

DWT Botany Group on Thursday 15th undertake a mag-lime flora survey at Town Kelloe Bank whilst  Bright Water keeps on walking with nature with a trip round the proposed Bishop Fen Nature Reserve.

On Saturday 17th our Wildlife Watch Group have their monthly meet at Rainton Meadows before the highlight of our month Wildathon takes place on Sunday 18th.  At Rainton Meadows we dedicate a whole day to all things wild.  We will be undertaking a fun range of activities from the 30 Days Wild pack, celebrating the campaign and providing everyone with a chance to be part of it.

Following the success of our bird song weekend, on Friday 23rd we have our second residential course taking place at Kite Rise in High Field, this time we are Small Mammal Survey Training.

On Saturday 24th we’re undertaking Grassland and Woodland Survey Training at Hagg Hill Woods and  Victoria Garesfield and also enjoying a walk with a wildlife expert around Hannah’s Meadow Nature Reserve, one of the best examples of a traditional Teesdale hay meadow left in the dale.

To end the month, Bright Water keep up the wild pace with a walk at Great Aycliffe Way on Sunday 25th and then again on Tuesday 27th at Barmpton and Ketton, before we finish the month with Washington Wildlife Group at Washington Old Hall.

Wild Yoga this month continues with its weekly Tuesday sessions at Rainton Meadows.  We have some wild yoga taking place at our Wildathon too, if you want to give it a try first.

With so many wild activities ahead this month, don’t forget to share your photos with us on Twitter @durhamwildlife and Facebook and for those taking the 30 Days Wild challenge please keep us updated and good luck!

Karen Forster

Karen volunteers with Durham Wildlife Trust, collating monthly roundups and highlighting opportunities to get out and to enjoy our region's wildlife. Karen enjoys long fast walks along country lanes, coastal paths or hiding away from it all in a bird hide. Animal lover, guinea pig owner and bass guitar player for two indie bands, Karen lives in Gateshead and works as a business development lead for an architectural practice.