Wild Shropshire

Green winged orchid

What could you see this month?

Reserves to visit

With over 40 to choose from, here are our favourites to visit at this time of the year.

Click here to see all our Reserves

Swift

Common Swift Apus apus - David Tipling/2020VISION

Swifts, Swallows and Martins

A sure sign that summer has arrived! Look up and spot these aerial high-flyers, swooping to catch insects. It can be difficult to tell them apart and they act quite similar in behaviour. Hopefully the image below will help you differentiate between  them, but the main thing to look for is their colouring and tail shape. 

Read our blogs below to find out more about what they are up to at this time of the year. 

Mud for martins Secret lives of swifts First swallows

House Martin, Swift, Swallow
Cuckoo - Andrew Fusek Peters

Andrew Fusek Peters

Cuckoo

You are more likely to hear a cuckoo than see it! They have a distinctive call which can be heard in woodland edges. The cuckoo is a 'brood parasite' - it is famous for laying its eggs in other birds' nests and fooling them into raising its young. Young are usually much bigger than the hosts chicks, which end up being pushed out of the nest. 

Cuckoos are one of the birds on the British Trust for Ornithology’s ‘Red List’, meaning that their numbers are falling dramatically.

Red mason bee

(c) Penny Frith

Solitary bees

Some of the bees using your garden bug hotel might be red mason bees. As a solitary bee, after mating, each female builds its own nest; she lines each 'cell' with mud and pollen and lays a single egg in each until the cavity is full. The larvae hatch and develop, pupating in autumn and hibernating over winter.

Have a look at our species pages to help you identify a bee or for more information about bees and pollinators, click here.

Slow worm

(c) Bruce Shortland

Slow-worm

Despite appearances, the slow-worm is actually a legless lizard, not a worm or a snake! - Its identity is given away by its ability to shed its tail and blink with its eyelids.

You might be lucky enough to spot one in your garden, where it favours compost heaps. Don't worry they are harmless. 

Cuckoo spit - froghopper

Cuckoo-spit

Have you noticed frothy masses of bubbles on plant stems (if they haven't been washed away..!) ? In spring and summer this acts as protection for froghopper nymphs. Froghoppers are small oval shaped insects, in a variety of colours! The adult is a champion jumper and is able to leap 70cm into the air - a greater feat than the flea and similar to a human jumping over a tower block!

Shieldbug

There are many different species of shieldbug in the UK.  Did you know they are also known as 'stink bugs' due to their ability to release a strong-smelling fluid when threatened. Like there name suggests, their shape resembles shields used by medieval knights.

Frequent in most habitat types, some species are carnivorous, but most feed on sap sucked from foliage and berries.

Early Purple Orchid

Alex Sleigh

Orchids

Orchids are the superstars of the wild flower world. This summer, search for the masters of mimicry cleverly fooling their pollinators, including the furry-flowered bee orchid, or its more understated cousin, the fly orchid. Tempting as it may be, don’t pick the flowers. Orchids look their best out in the wild, and some species are legally protected so you could be breaking the law.

In Shropshire some of the places you can find orchids include: Melverley Meadows, Venus Pools, Llynclys Common and Harton Hollow.

How can you help wildlife in your garden?

Click here for more wildlife gardening tips and guides.

 

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