Noticing nature from dawn to dusk
It's the longest day of the year on 20 June 2020, so why not use these extra hours to have a nature adventure? Count the bugs in your garden, find out if you're a night owl or morning lark and make the most of those longer summer days to spot some wildlife and take some beautiful photos of your favourite green space.
This weekend, you could use the longer hours in the evening to find out what kind of bugs you can attract in your garden by using an old bed sheet and a torch. We've also got some fascinating facts about why different animals are more active in the morning or the evening, as well as some tips and tricks on how to take some beautiful photographs when the sun sets.
Our study on the value of nature also found that most of us are night owls, meaning we love staying up at night rather than getting up early. There are lots of things to do in your garden at dusk and dawn, so make the most out of nature on your doorstep this weekend.
These are fun activities for members and supporters. These activities have been designed so that they can be done safely in your house, garden or local area, so please take part responsibly and follow government guidance on social distancing.
Wonderful wildlife at dawn
Blackbird and robin
It's said that 'the early bird gets the worm', and robins and blackbirds are some of the earliest risers. Insect eaters like finches tend to rise later, maybe for their prey to wake up with the warming sun.
Like many flowers, the common daisy opens its petals with the rising sun, and are fully awake by midday to attract pollinators.
Muntjac and Roe deer are increasingly common, and can wander into our parks and gardens. Deer can often been seen grazing at first light before melting away into cover such as dense woodland or bramble thickets.
Become an expert bug catcher
Have you ever noticed how moths just love flying towards the light, especially on a summer evening when you have your windows open? Observing these curious creatures is easy with our step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Hang a sheet
Hang up an old, light-coloured bed sheet vertically outside on a summer evening when it’s dry and not too windy. You could hang it up on a washing line, on a hedge or a tree.
Step 2: Find a light source
Any type of light works to attract moths. You could use a torch, garden lamp or the light from a phone. For best results, make sure that your light is bright enough to illuminate most of the sheet.
Step 3: Light up the sheet and wait for moths
Turn on your light and direct it towards your sheet – moths should begin arriving almost right away. You could bring a camera to take photos to find out which moths are in your garden.
We were inspired by similar activities from BBC's Springwatch and Science Friday. Check out their websites at the bottom of the page for more fun summer activities to get closer to nature.
According to our survey:
- 93% of people notice the change in seasons
- 36% of people would say they're an 'early bird'
- 42% of people would say they're a 'night owl'
Figures are from Yougov Plc and the total sample size was 2,103 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
" Spending time in nature is good for our health, and having a close connection with nature is good for people’s mental wellbeing. Both play an active part in managing our emotions and moods."
Please note, this episode was recorded before UK restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus. Please check current guidance before planning any activities.
Podcast: Things that go click in the night
In this podcast episode, presenter Jo Dyson gets a masterclass in night time photography from astrophotographer, Steven Hanna. Listen to discover how you can use your camera to shed light on the secrets of the night.
Read a poem about the spectacular summer sky
So many poets have been inspired by the sky. The best place to start when writing your own poem about dawn and dusk is by looking up at the sky and noting what you like the best about it. Is it the clouds, the stars, the sun or the moon? We’ve shared some of our favourite sky-inspired poems below to inspire you to write about your own experiences.
Bed in Summer, Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Scotland. He was a poet and novelist. In fact, he wrote Treasure Island (1882), which was inspired by a map of an imaginary island.
As the dusk transforms into the evening, notice how the sky turns from orange, to red, to a deep blue.
The Sun Has Long Been Set, William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was really interested in how humans are connected to nature, which he explores in his poetry. Have a go at writing your own short poem about how the sky makes you feel today.
The Cock Crows in the Morn
Cockerels crow in the morning, acting as alarm clocks for other farmyard animals. Can you make a noise like a cockerel in the morning?
Poems from I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree, a nature poem for every day of the year selected by Fiona Waters and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon. Published by Nosy Crow.
Artwork © Frann Preston-Gannon 2018.
Wonderful wildlife at dusk
Our most familiar owl with a classic call, tawny owl chicks will now be fledging and calling out excitedly at feeding time. They're increasingly common in parks and larger gardens, although the population has fallen in recent years.
One of our largest and most distinctive moths. Its wings look like leaves and when it feels threatened, it flashes the most beautiful red patch on its underwings. Sometimes its normal grey colouring has a stunning purple tinge.
Beavers are making a slow comeback to UK rivers following re-introductions in Scotland and England. They're secretive, natural flood engineers that feed and build dams in the darkness out of sight of predators.
One of the most common garden moths in the UK. The caterpillars adore fuchsias and the adult moths get nectar from honeysuckle, so if you have these plants in your garden there’s a good chance these rainbow-bright insects will visit.
Find lots of inspiration for activities to do as a family. You won't be short of things to do at home or in the garden.