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Nature of Britain Calendar: May

Updated Thursday, 1st May 2008

A perfect time for spotting beetles - from the cockchafer to the wasp beetle. But what else happens in May?

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Hedgerow flowers Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Other - from calendar, cleared for use online

Do one thing

Sow wild flower seeds to provide nectar for insects such as bees, hover-flies and butterflies.

What to look for

Across Britain, hedgerows are white with cow parsley and in damp woods carpets of wild garlic and wood sorrel cover the ground. Red campion and germander speedwell are flowering on sunny banks and hedgerows.

In rivers you can spot sheets of water crowfoot. In the west of Britain sea trout are making their way upstream to breed. Their relatives the brown trout are rising to hatches of mayflies, also prey for metallic green damselflies such as the banded demoiselle.

Look out for the frightening (but harmless) cockchafer beetles as they blunder about on warm evenings, especially over farmland.

Other insects to look for are the wasp beetle and the cardinal beetle, which sit out in the open protected by their warning colours.

Nightingales sing in southern woods and garden warblers and blackcaps sing in scrub and woodland. Swifts scream through the city streets and bring a touch of the tropics to our lives.

At dusk badger cubs emerge from their setts accompanied by their parents. Harder to spot are baby hares crouching in the long grass of open fields.

Did you know

A baby pipistrelle bat is only about the size of a 50p coin. In May they are unable to fly, but sometimes find their way into unfortunate situations. Don’t handle them, call the bat experts: 0845 1300 228 for the Bat Conservation Trust.

Habitat of the month: Hedgebanks

Many flowers are in bloom and insects are busy surviving. Look for beetles, bugs and bumblebees. With their mixture of woody plants and herbs, hedgebanks are especially good for biodiversity.

Photo opportunity: Hedge and verge flowers

Plants are bursting into flower everywhere. Use a tripod to help keep the lens steady. Go out early and catch the morning dew. Or try the evening – the low sun makes interesting shadows and makes colours appear richer.

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