Despite the buzzing from insects and children, August is a quieter month for wildlife.
Our summer visiting birds have already sneaked away – taking with them the beautiful song that woke us in the morning.
With a sudden end to the dawn chorus, and little action in our bronzed gardens, many wonder what has happened to our birds. The breeding season is over for our visitors and so is the purpose of their stay, watch them gather before they fly away. The ruffled blackbirds have gone to change their feathers and, as the wheat ripens, our sacred house sparrows are off to spend their holidays in farmers’ fields.
The school holidays have just begun yet, as fruits and seeds ripen and swallows line up along telephone wires, the change of season already appears. The return of blackberries, raspberries, elderberries, hawthorn, sloes and rosehips bring back a splash of autumnal colour and an early harvest to pick.
After all the glorious sunny days, our midsummer flowers have begun to fade and fields look tired and parched, but the crickets now chirp, the grasshoppers sing and the bees still fumble through the flowers.
We’ve no excuse not to be out too, enjoying the most of this long hot summer.
We start the month with the first of our Thursday summer family fun sessions at Low Barns. Come and experience our Wonderful Widlflowers fizzing with wildlife on Thursday 2nd, cool down on the 9th with a Summer Pond Dip, Buzz about Bees on the 16th, celebrate our Terrific Trees on the 23rd, and end the month on Thursday 30th in our beautiful Meadows.
We’re Pond Dipping at Rainton Meadows on the 3rd, to discover what lurks beneath the surface. Our Guided Dragonfly Walk on Sunday 5th is a great way to find out why our reserves are buzzing. Find out who is making all the noise, is it a dragonfly or a damselfly? Over at Low Force, learn about The Rocks Under Your Feet as the importance of geology in the area is explained on a short guided walk.
We’re hoping the sun is shining on Friday 10th as we’re holding a Butterfly Activity Day at Rainton Meadows. As well as a range of activities, we’ll be counting butterflies to help experts assess the state of our wildlife environment. Butterflies are excellent indicators of biodiversity.
Darlington & Teesdale Naturalist’s Field Club members are making the most of our Late Summer Wildflowers and Wildlife at Forest-in-Teesdale on Saturday 11th and at Rainton Meadows we’re celebrating My Wild Sunderland with our Summer Wildlife Bonanza.
We are delighted to have PoomWood teach us the craft of traditional Green Working, and help us create our own woodwork, on Sunday 12th at Low Barns.
We have a series of sessions for our Young Foresters this month starting on Tuesday 14th with Build a Woodland Path, a great opportunity for all 14 – 18 year olds to discover what makes our woodlands such a valuable resource. For the group, we are also holding a Dormouse Survey on the 20th at High Wood Nature Reserve and a Green Woodwork session on the 21st at Derwent Valley.
Our Rainton Meadows Summer Forest School sessions for outdoor explorers, aged 7- 11, begin on Wednesday 15th and continue on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th, Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th.
On Thursday 16th we will be discovering the wonderful world of the Wild Grasslands at Watling Wood. Whilst we have Flower Power on Friday 17th at Rainton Meadows and Gateshead Wildathon at The Saltmarsh Gardens.
For those who prefer the outdoors at a more leisurely pace, Tom Gledhill will be leading a walk around the Dale and The Land of Oak and Iron Wildlife Group will be at Lanchester Community Centre for Dragonfly Identification.
Lanchester Wildlife Group will be setting small animal traps on Tuesday 21st, then checking to see who is behind closed doors the following day at Malton Nature Reserve.
After the success of our sell out first wildlife festival last year, we’re back with Camp Derwent on the weekend of Friday 24th. This year we are going wild with red squirrels at the Derwent Reservoir with woodland treasure trails, bug hunts, bats, birds, small mammal hunts and traps and storytelling around the campfire.
For those not at the festival, on Friday 24th join our Puddle Duck Story Walk and take part in our quaking set of challenges, puzzles and crafts at Rainton Meadows. We’re on hand to help children learn some Woodland Skills on Saturday 25th at Rainton too, whilst we go behind the scenes on our Low Barns’ Hidden Tracks event on Sunday 26th.
Come to Teesdale and Think of Ice on Monday 27th and see features of glaciation from the last ice age from Middleton-in-Teesdale by car and Wynch Bridge on foot.
Our Young Photographers are joined by our Low Barns warden on Tuesday 28th as he takes them through how to get those perfect wildlife photographs.
When the sun goes down on Wednesday 29th, we will be coming out with our bat detectors for Saltmarsh Garden Bat Walk. Whilst we end the month on Friday 31st learning Woodland Skills at Rainton Meadows.
Don t forget our Wild Yoga continues every Tuesday too, even more relaxing in the sunshine.