May 2016 News
Despite the cold wet April weather, the woodland is full of singing birds, including all of the nesting summer visitors. However, they are difficult to see because they are often hidden by the leaves on the trees. It is well worth learning their songs and calls because you can identify up to 20 species without actually seeing any!
The first butterflies and damsel / dragonflies are now appearing. Most of the early butterflies are those that over-wintered as adults such as the Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone. The bright yellow male Brimstone is particularly noticeable at this time of year. All of these over-wintering species are hoping to mate, after which they will soon die. However, their offspring will appear in late July and August.
Already, you can see some butterfly species flying that over-wintered as pupae, such as the Speckled Wood. This species has very obvious pale yellow spots on its inner wings. It has multiple broods and can be seen throughout the summer, often seen in sunny spots in the woodland, near flowering blackberries.
The first damselfly to appear is the Large Red Damselfly. It breeds prolifically in the pond near the Visitor Centre and can often be seen perched on surrounding vegetation. If you look very carefully, you may even see one emerging from its larva on the reeds in the pond. Dragonflies will start to appear in early June, so look out for them. The earliest is likely to be the Four-spot Chaser.