Sunny skies it must be summer!
The summer brings warmer weather and the woodland canopy closes in. The light changes in the woods and they become cool and shady and comfortable on those long hot summer days. And, although autumn is approaching fast, the summer is lingering on.
The tree canopy especially in the beech wood is lush and green.
Listen out for the migrant birds such as willow warblers.
As the days grow longer the birdsong grows in volume and the dawn chorus is very evident especially in the beech wood alongside the main drive beyond the caravan site. Listen for the two common woodpeckers. The green woodpecker is distinguishable by its laughing call and can be seen feeding on the heathland, gobbling up ants. The great spotted woodpecker’s ‘song’ is in fact a drumming sound which is made by hitting tree branches with their bill. This is a combined warning to competitors and mating call. Sometimes confused with the lesser spotted woodpecker, the great spotted woodpecker is, as its name suggests, larger in size. It is around the same size as a blackbird compared to the lesser spotted which is sparrow-sized.
The trees are buzzing with life, insects are on the wing. The rides between the trees are ideal spots to see butterflies. Look out for brimstone, comma, gatekeeper, orange tip, fritillaries, common blue, peacock, purple hairstreak around the tops of oak trees, speckled wood and the white admiral, quite common here in this area.
This area is well known for its reptiles the adder being the most common. The adder, or viper as it is sometimes called, is the only venomous reptile in the UK, but is generally shy and non-aggressive. It is a fairly small and stocky snake. It can be variable in colour, with males being usually grey and the females reddish brown. Both sexes have a distinctive diamond shaped or zigzag pattern along their backs.
Adders can be seen basking in the sun on the heath. They get their warmth from the sun and their immediate environment. Reptiles cannot regulate their own body temperature like mammals do.
Never attempt to pick up an adder and keep dogs under tight control.
Slow worms and common lizards will also seek out sunny spots to warm themselves.
In the woodland, there are many ferns, and on some trees and bushes there is honeysuckle. Along the rides beside the trees are brilliant white and pink foxgloves often buzzing with bees of various types. Occasionally muntjac, roe and red deer break cover and sprint across the paths.
As evening approaches and the sun sinks the scent of the honeysuckle becomes more intense, watch for bats and listen for the churring of nightjars.
Towards the end of summer heather on the heathland bursts into flower. It is easier to see the heather flowers, at this time, as the foliage is not so impenetrable.