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Dales Nature in June

The Yorkshire Dales are one of Britain's finest areas for natural history. In this article Daelnet natural history editor Brin Best encourages you to go out and look for wildlife in June, highlighting some of the special things that can be seen during the month.

Dales Nature

June is a time of great abundance in the countryside with young birds on the wing, flowers of all varieties in bloom and a host of insects on the wing. The fine weather we enjoyed in May has led to a good supply of food for birds feeding young, and many newly fledged chicks are on show. Remember that if you find a young bird that is apparently abandoned leave it alone - a parent is very likely nearby and by trying to catch the bird you may cause the adult to flee completely.

Dales Nature

The hawthorns have lost their white blossom in the lower dales, but in higher areas the spectacular show is still on. It has been a bumper year for this small tree with ribbons of white marking field edges throughout the Dales. Many trees are being used as nest sites for small songbirds, and these can be heard proclaiming their territory in a number of Dales' woods. They include a variety of summer visitors from Africa, including several different warblers, the redstart and two different kinds of flycatcher - the pied and the spotted. Strid Wood, near Bolton Abbey is a great place to enjoy the songs of these species, and is also a fine site for wild flowers. If you stay in the evening you may even catch sight of one of the many bat species which can be seen in the area, or a woodcock on its 'roding' display flight.

In other places the cream flowers of the wild cherry can be seen and at ground level in meadows and in woods, a profusion of wild flowers are now at their best. The Dales are home to some of the finest wild flower meadows in the country, though many of these have been lost through agricultural 'improvements' and replacement with faster growing species for silage. The grounds of the old hospital west of Grassington are a fabulous place in which a glimpse of the past is provided. Here the meadows have never been improved and as a result support a dazzling array of species in a site of special scientific interest managed by English Nature. Greater burnet, ox-eye daisy and melancholy thistle grow in profusion here in a sward that is as diverse as any site in the Dales.

Dales Nature

June is a good time to study butterflies in your garden or on a local walk. Orange-tips seem to be especially common this year, and I have seen large numbers of green-veined whites at a number of sites in the Dales. Look out also for the common blue, which darts about in search of its food plants. It is good to record the butterflies that visit the plants in your garden, as this can provide valuable information on their population sizes. Such basic information gathered by people such as you is helping to chart patterns of decline of many of our native species, so conservation action can be taken before it is too late.

We would be very interested to hear of your own wildlife sightings during June, or of any other interesting wildlife observations you would like to report. We hope to feature such contributions on Daelnet in the future, so please get in touch with me at brin@daelnet.co.uk.

Nature Notes

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