Under July’s sunny skies, filled with colour and pace, lies a patchwork of green and golden countryside and stunning wildflower meadows bursting with life. Summer has spread.
The chequered view ahead reveals where the barley ripens and the hay and silage have been cut. Catch a rattling hay meadow before it is cut to see its vibrancy and wild glory.
A delightful charm of goldfinches may be chiming from thistle to branch, and the ‘little bit of bread and no cheese’ call of the yellowhammer and jangling song of the corn bunting may be heard. Yet, birdsong has fallen quiet to the buzz of insects as dragonflies, butterflies and months take over. As summer heightens, many birds go under to look after their young. Some will also raise their second brood.
Our ponds start to empty as great crested newts, frogs and toads head for land. Baby frogs, toads and hoglets will begin to emerge this month and so will the cold-blooded reptiles as they creep out to bask in the sun.
As temperatures spin so do the housemartins and swallows on the wing. After arriving late, our swifts depart early. As they make their swift exit this month, along with the cuckoo, their migration signals that summer won’t last forever. So, time to make the most of the warm weather with our programme of wildlife events this month.
On Friday 6th join us for The Natural History of Upper Teesdale Celebration Event where we launch the revised copy of this popular book on Teesdale’s glacial past at The Hub, Barnard Castle. Our fun Friday After School Club also begins at Rainton Meadows. The club will take place every Friday during term time.
Lanchester Wildlife Group are off to Bearpark Woods with our botany group on Tuesday 10th. Whilst our Heart of Durham Minibus Tour takes place on Wednesday 11th, providing a unique opportunity for our members to visit parts of Derwent Reservoir that are normally off limits to the general public.
On Saturday 14th attendees on our Guided Bird Walk will enjoy exclusive access to our bird hide at Rainton Meadows and learn about the birds that live, and sing, on our reserve.
Taking place on Tuesday 17th, and the third Tuesday of every month, is Muddle in the Middle – Home Education Outdoors at Rainton Meadows. The monthly activities are designed to engage our next generation with the natural world and build their understanding of how to protect it.
Reedbeds are very important habitats for wildlife, discover the secret life of our reed beds on Sunday 22nd at Life in the Reeds at Low Barns. Then bumble along to Dunston Ponds for Buzz about Bees on Monday 23rd to find out about the wonderful and important lives of bees, and to take part in our big bumble bee count.
The Angel of the North Biolblitz on Tuesday 24th consists of a number of morning and afternoon sessions for wild explorers. We will uncover the rich variety of wildlife that lies under the Angel’s wings. Whilst, for all budding young wildlife photographers out there, at Low Barns our warden is on hand at our Young Photographers event to take you through the steps of how to get perfect wildlife photographs.
At Seaham Hall Beach, on Wednesday 25th, we go on a Rockpool Ramble to explore life in the rocky shore habitat. It’s over to Low Barns for children aged 5-11 on Thursday 26th for some Low Barns Family Fun.
An Introduction to Durham Wildlife Trust is designed for new members, but open to all, on Thursday 26th. Find out more about what we are doing for wildlife, meet the team and join us for a wander round Rainton Meadows, plus a spot of birdwatching.
We end the month with A Little Magic on Sunday 29th as we learn about the rare Little Tern and other wildlife that live at Crimdon Beach.
Don’t forget our monthly Wildlife Watch meetings and weekly Wild Yoga and Craft Hour continue to take place too. For a full list of events please visit here and keep looking out for new events too.
Please don’t forget to share your summer wildlife photos with us this month on Twitter @durhamwildlife and Facebook. Hopefully the sun will keep shining.