There’s been an abundance of sunshine over the past month. It’s a bit cooler this week but that optimistic June feel – the long days and short nights, the warm breeze, the luscious greens – is full of promise. I sometimes think that the idea of a long summer stretching ahead is better than the reality. In June we tend to plan summertime day trips to the beach, family BBQs, camping trips, and picnics in the park. Fingers crossed that this summer meets it’s early promise and all those plans come to fruition.
Our little garden is packed to the brim with life at the moment. All the shrubs and bushes and trees have exploded, the grass seems to grow overnight, the nettle patch is getting out of control (that’s ok though because one nettle patch can host up to 40 species of insect!). There’s a lot of bird activity in the garden at the moment. It is full of busy parents and greedy youngsters. Last week we watched a family of starlings conducting lessons on how to negotiate the bird feeders. There were four large but very fluffy youngsters; still a dull brown in colour. Both of the parents were bringing them mouthfuls of food on our shed roof and encouraging them to land on the feeding station. They aren’t as quick to fly off when I head out the back to the studio as their parents are. They sit on the top of the feeders and have a good look at me. It makes me a little sad that the honest, almost naive acceptance of the presence of humans is so quick to change to suspicion and flight.
The only fledglings brave enough to jostle for space on the feeders when the boisterous big jackdaws are there are the house sparrows. They must be born fearless. There’s also a young robin with his brown speckled breast going about the garden, and a brand-new blackbird.
The swallows are back nesting in our back porch. They took advantage of the mud caused by the torrential rain at the weekend and used it to strengthen their nest.
There is an abundance of insects in June, including moths, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, wasps, bees, damselflies, daddy-long-legs and bluebottles. Therefore, June has a constant thrumming, buzzing, busy backing track. This causes us some problems, though, as Buddy dog is absolutely terrified of any flies that buzz. If a fly dares come inside the house, our normally boisterous big dog is reduced to a cowering mess. He’s absolutely terrified. If something winged has a little bzzzzz during the night he barks the house down until someone comes to rescue him. Bees and wasps represent a next-level terror. The summer is a scary time for our Buddy.
He loves swimming though, so at this time of year we get him to water at every opportunity. He tries to wag when he swims and it’s hilarious. On Saturday he was swimming through the flowering waterlilies in the pond at Gordon Community Woodland while we watched squwiggly little tadpoles wig and wag in their own hilarious ways. By the end of the month the tadpoles will have graduated to fully formed tiny toads and frogs, ready to leave the pond. There were lots of blue & red glimmery dragonflies around too. In June, there are lots of dragonfly species on the wing including the Common Hawker, Southern Hawker, Emperor, Common Darter and Ruddy Darter.
The summer solstice approaches, with June 21st marking the longest day. I love being in the garden in the evening as the sun goes down, watching for the moment the sky-full-of-swifts changes to a sky-full-of-bats. Bat pups are mainly born this month. There’s just one pup per bat.
OK time for me to head back out to the garden. If you’ve got a moment check out this petition which is raising awareness and calling for change in the way roadside verges are managed. Lots of our native wildflowers are threatened with extinction because of the time of year that the verges tend to be cut. It’s an easy thing we can do to make a difference to our countryside diversity.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful wild June!