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Wildlife To See In August

Heather moorlands burst into flower this month, their nectar rich flowers providing late summer fuel for bees. Wild Thyme flowers attracting many butterflies. Look out for fresh new growth, known as Lammas growth on Oak Trees.

August is the perfect month to vist the coast and look out for returning waders searching for molluscs and invertebrates in soft mud or amongst seaweed.

Our sandy beaches such as at Lytham are excellent places to look for and collect shells of various species.

Many birds are undergoing their annual moult and are more timid spending more time hidden away. The moult is staggered over a period of weeks so the bird is always capable of flight and still has insulation if the weather turns foul. Robins, Chaffinches, Greefinches, Pied Wagtails and Sparrows are all birds you may catch a glimpse of looking more ragged than usual. Most will moult into a duller version of their breeding plumage, making them less conspicuous over winter.

Juvenile birds moult into a version of their adult plumage. Robins get their red breasts and Blackbirds loose their spotty plumage to become black or brown depending on their sex, although the males bill remains black for now. Juvenile birds also disperse now to find their own territories, sometimes you can see them congregated together in large mixed flocks. Tits, Goldcrests and Treecreepers often do this.

Many plants and grasses are covered in berries or seeds and there are plenty of insects for the birds to fatten up for winter on. Blackbirds can be a bit of a pain in the garden at the moment if you are growing currants. I thought our local Blackbird had had an awful accident till I realised the red stuff all over its face and beak was actually redcurrant pulp and not blood. And it wasn't keen to fly because it was stuffed, not injured.

Swifts will probably have left by the end of the month, a sad day when their screams and aerial displays no longer fill our skies. Swallows start to gather on phone wires and cables in chattering groups in preparation for their migration.

Goldfinches will lay eggs around now, timing their breeding season to coincide with the seeding of Thistles, Teasels, Knapweed and Burdock.

Flying ants provide a food bonanza for many birds as they take to the air on their mating flights. I have even seen Starlings and Jackdaws manage to snatch them out of the air with unexpected agility.

RSPB news - Mark Cocker and David Tipling are producing a study of the cultural importance of birds and would love to hear from anyone with a good story. Go to www.birdsandpeople.org for more details.

Other Resources

www.whentowatchwildlife.org A good national general overview of what to see and when.

BBC wildlife gardening calendar

Lancashire Wildlife



Lancashire Wildlife

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