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Wildlife Photography in August

The early part of the month is often the time to see grey squirrels chasing each other through the branches. 

They are impatient to start harvesting nuts but these are not ready so you will see them breaking open unripe nuts to see if anything edible is yet inside, and keen to make sure no other squirrels discover the best points before them.

They often chatter and squeal to each other, sometimes quarrelling and either from a quarrel or just for fun or excitement a chase through the branches develops.

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In the later evening bats are out and about, many snapping up insects still flying around. Often found over water of damper areas. In some cases gently fluttering a paper tissue or thin scarf will cause them to be curious enough to come and fly closer to you to see what you are and what you are doing, they will never fly into you.

In woodland with dead sycamore, beech, elm and ash trees look out for what is said to be the seat of the woodland fairies or dryad, the wood nymphs in classical mythology.

It has a yellowish upper surface with light brown scales and is white underneath. The brackets can reach a size of up to half a metre across. It smells like aniseed.

Dryad's Saddle is a fairly common fungus, and parasite of dead trees.

Dryad's Saddle image on Flickr


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   Harvest Mouse  Flickr 

This is the time of year when the small harvest mouse, weighing only 20grams (about the same as a 20p piece), weaves its tennis ball sized nests around 18 inches (45cm) above the ground, attached to plant stalks. Now quite rare to find, this is Britain's smallest rodent.

Harvest Mouse See Larger Image


Berries are now starting to ripen and through the month more are noticeable, they include blackberries, blueberries, sloes, hips, haws and elderberries as well as many others. Interesting in their own right, but often a magnet for birds and small mammals, some get stripped bare quickly, while others will be a regular supply through the autumn.

Most birds have now finished laying or sitting on eggs but often the wood pigeon will be getting an extra brood started in August. House sparrows, starlings and jackdaws will still have young being fed in their nests. House Martins will be leaving the nest, but if the weather is colder may return to them to roost at night. Swallows can be seen lining up on telephone and other wires. Martins, swallows and swifts can be seen darting around the fields, but by the end of the month the majority of the swifts will have left, but most other migrating birds are still around, although some  perhaps now starting to gather into groups. Sand martins for example will muster in flocks as they prepare to journey south. After breeding in the northern wetlands, waders return home to river estuaries or continue their migration. Lapwings and golden plovers join knots and bar-tailed godwits feeding on the mud. Coastal birds are visible and often noisy, Tern chicks screech in their coastal colonies and Manx Shearwaters glide in to sea cliffs in the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel.

See Larger ImageBlackberries

Kingfisher broods have now left the nests and started to spread out to find a patch of their own, so watch out even where you have never seen kingfishers before.

Along the coast in rock pools you can discover visits from crabs, shellfish, sea anemones and maybe lobsters, as the tide goes out you are also likely to find stranded jellyfish on the beach.

There are a lot of butterflies around in August, and different locations, and landscape types will have a range of different collections.  These may include Purple Hairstreak, purple emperor, white admiral, silver-washed fritillary, meadow brown, small skipper butterflies and large whites. Gatekeepers are particularly attractive orange and brown butterflies that can be often found near hedgerows. You should also look out for cinnabar moth caterpillars with their bright gold and black stripes feeding on ragworts or groundsel in the hedgerows.

Grasshoppers are still very active, the ones you are most likely to see being common green, common field and the meadow grasshopper. Dragonflies and damselflies will also be around lakes, ponds and other water features.

Less pleasant may be the swarms of black flying ants that all appear at the same time, these are all females, and after a flight often caught and given a lift by the wind will land, bite off their own wings and set about starting a new ants nest.

At this point, the height of summer, you can walk through the hay meadows, see a wide range of wild flowers and get the full scent of summer. In Moorland areas you can find the purple heather in full bloom.

See Larger Image Gatekeeper

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More Information

See also the Nature and Wildlife calendar - August

Other species can be found listed in the Wildlife and Animals section of the Topic Index and plants within the Nature, Flora and Countryside section, more lists may be found from the Wildlife & Nature index page within the reference section. These lists also give you links to other websites allowing you more information on what we have and haven't yet covered.


By: Keith Park Section: Key:

Page Ref: wildlife_photo_August

Topic: Wildlife Last Updated: 07/2009

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