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Wild Rye: Discover Our Wetland Wildlife

Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly

What to Look For

June

This is the most important month for bird breeding activity with all species trying to survive against the pressures of weather and predators. At the Beach Reserve it should be possible to watch many species raising their young, but please take care not to disturb them. Look out for alarmed adult birds, especially ringed plover, and move away. The best places to watch are from the hides, where the birds will behave naturally. On the islands of Ternery Pool the gulls and terns will be feeding their young

black-headed gull nest with chicks

and the ducklings of shelduck, mallard and perhaps gadwall and shoveler will be feeding themselves. Wheatears will also be feeding fledged young.

Various species of wader may still be migrating. Look out for scarce species such as curlew sandpiper and little stint. Despite the time of year there are some, like curlew, green sandpiper and lapwing arriving from further north after breeding. Teal, shoveler and sand martins may also begin to return at the end of the month. Unusual visitors in recent years have included purple heron, Montagu’s harrier, roseate tern and golden oriole.

Some of the Reserve’s more striking plants will not flower until this month, including bee orchid and pyramidal orchid. The first half of the month is usually the best time to see the colourful floral display across the Beach Reserve. As the mass of white sea kale flowers begins to fade, others are bursting open: the large blue spikes of viper’s bugloss, the yellow flowers of yellow horned-poppy, biting stonecrop and bird’s-foot trefoil, the pink flowers of red valerian, sea heath and thrift and the purple flowers of ivy-leaved toadflax, sea pea and bittersweet.

sea pea flowers and pods

Castle Water is the best place to see damselflies and dragonflies, the commonest being common blue and blue-tailed damselflies and black-tailed skimmers. At the end of the month some grasshoppers may start to sing including mottled grasshopper, whose song resembles a watch being wound up.

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