Monthly Round Up: May

Karen Forster News

Male orange-tip butterfly (Image Credit: DWT Member, Nick Brischuk)

The flowery month of May provides a spectacular show, lining our gardens, meadows, woodlands, trees and hedgerows.

After unexpected sleet and snow, we welcome the colourful downpour of petals that fall like confetti to nature’s floor.  The blossoming hawthorn, known as the May-tree, reminds us that even along dreary roadsides there’s beauty to see.

Whilst April’s weather went up and down, spring continued to take flight and now, as the last of the visiting migrants arrive, the birds sing with all their might.  Just in time for International Dawn Chorus Day. The buzzing of insects also fills the air, as dragonflies emerge over wetlands, swarms of bees fumble through the flowers.

Whilst garden birds settle into nests with their young, for many the breeding season has just begun.  As bats get batty for one another, now is the perfect time to place a bat box against a sunny wall.  Now is also the time to prepare your beds, for planting of course.  It’s a busy month for the vegetable and flower grower, as hopefully the frost passes over.

Whilst new bird life is kept undercover, keep an eye out for baby mice, voles, fox and badger cubs.  As we start the month in Hedgehog Awareness Week, don’t forget our prickly friends are now active and breeding too.  So, be wary to turn on the light, if you hear a grunt and a snuffle in the garden at night.

As the weather gets warmer this month, we get ready to undress the vibrant sights, sounds and colours of nature with Durham Wildlife Trust.

We start the month on Wednesday 3rd with the Emperor’s New Clothes, join DWT at Low Barns to gather survey information on the moth species, one of Britain’s most strikingly dressed.

On Thursday 4th DWT Botany Group meet at Rainton Meadows to host a drop-in self ID workshop, the first of many of their events this month.

Get up with the lark on Saturday 6th as Paul Anderson from the Durham Bird Club leads DWT’s Dawn Chorus Walk around Rainton Meadows.  Now all the singers have arrived, this is the perfect time to hear nature’s symphony reach its peak.  Later that day, for those not too sleepy, DWT Botany Group take a visit to Blanchland in search of May Lily.  Whilst the Low Barns Watch Group get busy Himalayan balsam bashing, because not all plants are such a pleasure to see.

For the budding flora artists out there, DWT Botany Group on Monday 8th begin a series of plant drawing classes at Durham Cathedral.

To uncover more in our woods, join Lanchester Wildlife Group on Tuesday 9th when they are joined with John Butler from the Woodland Trust.  You can also survey at Deerness Valley with DWT Botany Group on the 9th or at Edmondsley Wood on Thursday 18th.

On Saturday 20th DWT hold a Quayside Kittiwakes Talk on the Terrace at BALTIC.  For those who missed this event last month it’s a great opportunity, within a spectacular setting, to get close to the kittiwakes and learn about the furthest inland kittiwake breeding colony in the world (these red-listed birds are pelagic and so they aren’t interested in chips or quayside kebabs).

DWT Botany Group continue with a further series of events.  On Thursday 25th May they will be grassland monitoring, on Sunday 28th exploring flora at Swaledale, before ending the month surveying on the stunning Durham Heritage Coast on Tuesday 30th.

On Wednesday 31 the new group on the block, Washington Wildlife Group, will end the month with a meeting at Washington Old Hall.

Don’t forget DWT’s Wild Yoga continues every Tuesday as does Nordic Walking at Rainton Meadows too, there’s no excuse now the weather is warming up.

With such a wild and colourful month of May ahead to enjoy with DWT, don’t forget to share your photos on twitter @durhamwildlife or on our facebook page.

Remember that 30 Days Wild starts in June – click here to order your free pack and to get involved.


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.