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In your garden: June 2018

June's flora and fauna fireworks

Once June arrives, long days and glorious sunshine- with perhaps a few days of rain just for good measure- make it a great time for our wildlife.

Gardens will undoubtedly blossom in the summer sunshine, with borders, hanging baskets and containers spilling over with gaudy yet cheerful colour. Take a few steps out into the surrounding countryside and elder, honeysuckle and bramble will soon greet you- their branches heavy with heady, yet delicate blossom.

Without doubt, wild flowers offer a rich bounty of intoxicating nectar for insects, which in turn provide food for summer visitors such as the melodic chiffchaff and willow warbler.

If you plan to add plants to your garden, why not consider species you might find in the wild, plants such as ragged robin, red campion, nodding foxglove and cheery ox-eye daisy? Many an illustrious bumblebee will prosper during this time of year and will happily buzz around gardens, its tiny hind-legs heavily laden with baskets full of pollen.

Despite the flora and fauna firework displays during the day, June is an equally busy month during the hours of darkness too. Though mainly grey in colour, badgers are easily recognised by their black and white faces, and it is at this time of year that they are at their most active just before dusk.

Unless you live near an active sett, these large, stocky nocturnal mammals may go largely unnoticed, and you may only become aware of their presence by finding them as a roadside casualty. Some badgers, however, do venture into gardens, especially if they have sets nearby.

With warm summer evenings, moth activity is also at its peak and if you look up at the night's sky, a bat may zip over your head. Though there are 18 species of bat in the UK, the common pipistrelle is one of the more commonly seen species in garden settings and you may be lucky enough to have a roost near you.

Despite the holiday season, spare a thought for your garden birds, most of which are busy with the breeding season, getting no respite from feeding their ever-hungry young. The days of June are mercilessly long for parent birds. By now, you may have noticed that most of your garden birds are feeding their young on insects, and these include birds such as tits and finches that will ordinarily hog the seed feeders.

Chaffinches are partial to caddis flies, beetles, earwigs and cockroaches, while blue tits and great tits will readily take larval lacewings, damsel flies and millipedes. If you have a nest box in your garden, you may soon come face to face with the little bundles of blue and yellow that are juvenile blue tits.

Despite their helpless please for food, these little birds rarely need to be rescued,, as their parents are never far away. Once they have left the nest, these fledglings spend a few days on the ground before they are able to get to grips with flying. Blue tits have just one brood a year and can potentially lay up to 14 eggs, so the adults make every effort to ensure as many of their young make it to the fledgling stage as possible.

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