July is our quietest month for bird song as most adult birds have finished breeding, are feeding young or recovering from a tiring nesting period. It isn’t a quiet month for competition though. Many new fledglings means more competition for food. Starlings, Blue Tits, Black birds, Robins and House Sparrows have all been left to their own devices, although some may be cared for by the parents, most are awkwardly trying to figure out what to do next. A bit clumsy and still with nice fluffy feathers, they are making the most of garden feeders and the high abundance of insects around.
Further a field I’ve seen beautiful baby Goosanders all on the parent’s back, moving as quickly as possible across the River Spey, Osprey’s catching fish over lochs for growing hungry youngsters and lots of Golden Eye chicks practicing their diving skills. Sunset's can be seen again earlier in the evening.
Butterflies! July is a month right in the middle of the flight period for many of our butterflies. Common Blue and Small Heath can be seen darting over grassy meadows. Dark Green Fritillary is a large and boisterous butterfly, often seen in flower rich habitats. Speckled Wood can be spotted fluttering in the canopy of woodlands, they enjoy flying high. Scotch Argus are widespread in the Cairngorms and don’t mind cloudy days, where they can be seen in tall, damp grasses. Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary are beautiful little orange butterflies spotted in woodland clearings and moorlands.
With July being a mostly warm and damp moth, it provides a great environment for wildflowers. Meadow Sweet, Knapweeds, Cranesbill Geraniums, Oxeye Daisies are all brightening up our meadows. These wildflower and rich grassland meadows provide necessary nectar for bee’s and butterflies, and very importantly, are foodplant’s for many of the butterflies mentioned. Carnivorous plants such as Round-leaved Sundew and Common Butterwort can be seen dotted along wet boggy paths and openings, waiting for unsuspecting flies.
Lastly, my favourite part of July is the ripening of Blaeberries. I enjoy having a snack whilst out on a walk as well as spotting brightly coloured scat of our Pine Martens.
Typically found in our Pine Forests, heaths and moors, Blaeberry is an important food source for much of our wildlife.
July is looking to be a wonderful month for our Day Guiding, seei
ng much wildlife enjoy the better weather and plentiful supply of food. I’m very much looking forward to it.