Month on the Emmbrook
What to look for if you are out and about in
August is the month when high summer turns to late summer. In the hedgerows the Blackberries have already started to ripen, going from green to red then finally black and delicious.
August sees the departure of the majority of Swifts. Their short stay in Britain reminds us just how fleeting summer can be. Most migrant birds are, however, with us for a while yet.
Hot days also bring the restful sound of Grasshoppers calling ('stridulating') from the long grass, advertising their territories. They are difficult to spot due to their green or brown colour, but soon hop to reveal themselves if disturbed, only to disappear again. Along the Emm brook the species most likely to be spotted are the Common Green, Common Field and the Meadow Grasshopper.
Butterflies on the wing this month include the Meadow Brown, Small Skipper butterflies and Large Whites. Gatekeepers are particularly attractive orange and brown butterflies and can usually be found near hedgerows.
Early in the month Grey Squirrels are impatient and insist on cracking open the pale green Hazel nuts, even though there is little reward inside. They can be heard chattering and squealing at one another. Aggressive confrontations can lead to tree top chases.
Plants & Trees>
The grasslands adjacent to the Forest Road contain Ragwort and Creeping Thistle. at this time of year . Ragwort is poisonous to livestock but supports approx 30 species of insect including the Cinnabar moth (the adult is black and red) feeds on this species at its caterpillar stage. The caterpillars are black and orange to ward off predators who may view them as a tasty snack. The caterpillar stores alkaloids from the plant which means that birds do indeed find them nasty to eat.