What's about the park

A common blue butterfly set against a blade of long grass

The Saltram parkland is teeming with wildlife in summer. The various different habitats, including the parkland, woodland and the riverside areas all attract birds, bees and butterflies with their colourful flowers and fruit trees. Here’s a guide to some of what you might discover during summer.

Foxes and bats

Nocturnal mammals are out of hibernation and are making the most of the warmer nights, foraging around the park under cover of darkness. If you are walking through the park at dusk or dawn, you may well see foxes running across the fields and tracks, or bats hunting insects near water and along field edges. Foxes will have given birth to this year's young last month, so the cubs are still very young and depend on their mother to find and hunt food for them. This keeps the parents on their toes for a few months until the cubs are old enough to hunt for themselves.

Common Blue Butterflies

Common blue butterflies have been active since May, but are most numerous in the first half of June. They can be found all over Saltram: in woodland clearings, along hedges and field lines and in grassland feeding on thistles and other flowers.

Elderflower

The hawthorn blossom of May is starting to fade, but Elder flower comes out to take its place with its large clusters of strongly smelling white flowers, loved by not only insects: they can be used to make cordial, wine and other summer drinks.

Elderflower can be seen around the parkland in June
A hand holding a bunch of elderflower

Birds nesting

The bird nesting season is in full swing, so many of the birds are too busy feeding their young to keep singing all day like they were in the previous few months. Many adults can be seen flitting around with their beaks full of food on their way back to the nest, and some young birds such as starlings and blackbirds have already fledged, but are still noticeably smaller than their parents.

Wildflowers

The trees have now come almost fully into leaf, the woodland floor is cast into the shade until Autumn, and the flowers that covered the woods have died back and started to produce seeds. But while the woodland flowers are disappearing, the meadows around Saltram are filled with wildflowers and flowering grasses. Yellow rattle is in flower, a parasitic plant that can feed off the roots of grasses. This helps to control the growth of grass and enables more wildflowers to grow in its place. A useful plant indeed when you are creating wildflower meadows!