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  • Writer's pictureAilie Brown

Joyous June

As spring moves into summer in the Cairngorms National Park, we expect warmer weather and lots of activity. Everything looks gloriously green and our wildlife are busy feeding young.

Very recently Swallows and then the Swifts arrived. They have been busy nest building and occupying the eves of houses. The chattering of the Swallows and the screaming parties of Swifts can be heard late into the evening.

A Swallow perched on barbed wire on the edge of a field.
A Swallow taking a rest. (Jane Hope)

Wandering along the river also makes for good viewing of several species of birds. Sand Martins nesting on the riverbanks, catching insects over the water, Grey Wagtails can be seen bobbing along the water’s edge while the flurry of calls of Common Sandpipers can he heard as they fly off.

A common sandpiper standing on a rock along a river.
Common Sandpiper ( Mark Fisher)

A couple of very special species in that have recently been seen by our local guides are Wood Warblers and Pied Flycatchers. They can be heard singing and frequently spotted in pockets of woodland surrounding Speyside.

a pied flycatcher sitting on a fence.
Pied Flycatcher (Simon Eaves)

Baby birds are in abundance in June. Birds such as Blue Tits and Great Tits only have one brood each year, with the feeding of hungry fledglings coinciding with the abundance of caterpillars. Little Lapwing chicks can be seen in damp meadows and fields, feeding on invertebrates found in ditches and ponds, in proximity of their parents fending off intruders. Osprey chicks will be fed in the nest before fledging around the end of June where they can be seen near lochs being fed by their parents.

While visiting local glens on our Guided Days Out you can hope for Cuckoos; a real treat to see, sitting high up on the tops of tree’s or often spotted on telephone wires. One of my favourite birds in breeding plumage is the Golden Plover which can be seen in good numbers around Speyside.

A cuckoo perched on a telephone wire
Cuckoo perched on a telephone wire (Mike Hems)

Slow Worms enjoy warm weather to bask in and digest their food. With warmer summer sunshine in June, you may spot these legless lizards in tussocks of grass or as you venture into heathlands. Another one of Scotland’s reptiles that favours sunny spots, is the Common lizard. June is a good month to look out for these scaley critters on the edges of woodlands and sunny glades.

Three slow worms enjoying basking in the sun.
Slow Worms enjoying summer sunshine (Duncan Macdonald)

Flowers and leaves have finally appeared! With ferns unfurling and cherry blossoms producing sweet scents, there’s lots of colours in Speyside to enjoy. Broom and Gorse are in flower, with warm weather, the seaside smell of coconut is produced when the oils in the flowers heat up in the sunshine. Hawthorn trees are rather unmistakable with it’s masses of small white flowers that brightens up any woodland or hedgerow.

A great way of seeing our wonderful wildlife and landscape in June is on one of our Guided Days Out or by visiting our Evening Mammal Hide.

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