Work carried out on Butterfly Conservation reserves is primarily to maintain and improve habitat for butterflies and moths but many of the measures taken benefit other wildlife too.
Birds become more visible during the spring breeding season when their efforts to attract a mate and then forage for food for their young provide a great spectacle.
Our Alners Gorse reserve in Dorset is one of the best places in the West of England to hear Nightingales, with four males reported singing so far this year. Wildlife filmmaker Tim Balmer was lucky enough to capture this footage on a recent visit...
Another recent highlight at this site was a pair of Spotted Flycatchers – now sadly an increasingly rare summer visitor.
Butterfly Conservation’s Oaken Wood reserve in Surrey is also a great place to hear Nightingales singing, along with the other woodland birds that nest in dense scrub around sheltered clearings.
Thanks to the coppicing, conifer harvesting and ride management, our reserve in Grafton Wood, Worcestershire, is a haven for warblers and other woodland birds. Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Garden Warblers and Willow Warblers can all be heard. One of the UK’s most beautiful woodland specialist – the Redstart has even been seen here this spring, its presence suggesting that the bird may be attempting to breed.
The rare Grasshopper Warbler whose distinctive song is akin to the winding of a fishing reel has been heard at Caeau Ffos Fach on the coal measures of South Wales. The warbler is a regular breeding species at Catfield Fen in Norfolk along with other rarities such as the Cetti’s Warbler. The imposing Marsh Harrier can also often be seen patrolling the fenland here.
The Limestone pavement on the hill top at Eyarth Rocks in North Wales is a prime basking site for Grass Snakes and Common Lizards at this time of year.
June is also the month for orchid spotting. Pyramidal and Fragrant Orchid can be found on Prestbury Hill in Gloucestershire. Bee and Frog Orchids are coming into bloom on Yew Hill in Hampshire and the Early Purple Orchid should be out for another week or two on the Southrey Wood reserve in Lincolnshire.
With so much to be seen, find a reserve near you and go exploring!
Head of Reserves