For many birds the breeding season will be drawing to a close. By mid month most adult Cuckoos will have left and the young Common and Little Terns will be fledging if the season has been successful, along with Black-headed Gulls, Oystercatchers, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Avocet, Redshank and many little brown birds in the bushes!
The passage of wading birds returning from the north gathers momentum with Dunlin, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Common and Green Sandpipers and hopefully a few Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint. Wildfowl such as Teal and Shoveler will also be increasing in number, and Sand Martins will begin to return early in the month. Flocks of Curlew
and Lapwing will be moulting their flight feathers – look for their tatty wings.
The more conspicuous shingle flowers will include Wild Carrot, Viper’s Bugloss, Red Valerian, Yellow Horned-poppy, Red Hempnettle, Sea Campion and Sea Pea. Our rarest plant, Least Lettuce, begins to flower, but it is very hard to find on the Beach Reserve as its flowers are small and only open in the mornings! On the saltmarsh Sea Heath will be in flower and in the grassland look out for Bee, Common Spotted and Pyramidal Orchids.
On warm, calm days the ditches and pools are alive with hundreds of Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies and dragonflies such as Emperor and Common Darter may be seen. Many grasshoppers will reach maturity, the males recognised by their distinctive songs. Dark Bush-crickets can also be found in scrubby areas, while the Beach Reserve supports the scarce Grey Bush-cricket. This is perhaps the best month for numbers and variety of moths including some of our rarer species such as Pale Grass Eggar and Pygmy Footman. Some of the common butterflies to look for include Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell and Small, Essex and Large Skippers.