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Nature of Britain Calendar: August

Updated Friday, 1st August 2008

A brilliant time of year to try and get photographs of Britain's snakes and lizards, especially when they're moving slowly in the cool of the morning - and that's just the start of August's surprises

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Do one thing

Set a moth trap to study different species close-up.

What to look for

This is the time to see the flowers of willowherbs, evening primrose, and bindweed, which are widespread in many habitats. Look out for the flowers and seed-cases of yellow rattle in grasslands.

In woods and hedges the first fruits of lords and ladies are showing and blackberries are ripening.

If you cool off down by the sea you may be able to find dog whelks and their eggs.

The first wintering waders such as black-tailed godwits, turnstones and grey plovers are beginning to arrive for the winter.

Offshore, manx shearwaters are heading south after breeding off Welsh and Scottish coasts. If you’re lucky you may see dolphins or even a minke whale off the west coast.

Fungi are appearing now in woods and fields. You’ll smell the weirdly shaped stinkhorn before you see it among woodland vegetation.

Young foxes are playing in fields and quiet urban areas.

Grasshoppers and bush crickets are calling now. You can identify the bush crickets by looking for their very long antennae. The best places to look are sunny grasslands and hedgerows.

Did you know

Common lizards give birth to live young. In Britain, two other reptiles are also viviparous: the slow-worm and the adder. The common lizard and the adder are found as far north as the Arctic Circle! Find out more from The British Herpetological Society.

Habitat of the month: Heathland

Heather with their purple flowers can be a spectacular sight. In the undergrowth you can hear millions of grasshoppers calling for a mate.

Photo opportunity: Reptiles

They are at their most active this month, with snakes and lizards out hunting for prey. Watch for them warming up in sunny spots. If you can get out early they are still cold and slow, so easier to spot. A telephoto lens will help you get a good close-up shot without disturbing them.

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