If you go down to the woods you'll be in for big treat
with wide range of nature watching activities... and they don't just involve looking
From butterflies and bugs to mammals and moths, woods offer
an unrivalled selection of nature.
provide great locations for a wide range of wildlife.|
three activities which you can participate in woodlands and surrounding areas:
* Pond watching.
are great locations for walks during the summer months.
Why not test your
knowledge of trees and woodland plants and birds as you meander through the woods?
a few tips to make the most of your woodland walks:
Don't forget to bring a good tree and plant identification guide so you can look
* The woodland floor is a good
place to find rare plants and flowers. Use your sense
of smell to sniff out herbs and fragrant varieties.
To spot elusive woodland birds, keep scanning the trees and stay alert.
Look out for Crossbills, a stocky-looking woodland bird with a staccato call.
The female is a distinctive yellow-green colour whilst the male is reddish and
- Listen for bird calls especially Nightingales and other woodland
regulars. The dawn chorus peaks in June but you'll need to be early to hear it!
places for woodland walks featured on the summer series of Nature's Calendar include:
Castle Eden Dene
We can also recommended the following:
Windsor Great Park, Berkshire - mature/ancient oaks.
* Yarner Wood, Devon -
Oaks, mosses, lichens and birds.
* Epping Forest, Essex - Oak, Beech, insects,
* Lower Woods, Glos - ancient Oaks and butterflies.
Pinetum, Kent - excellent conifers and birds.
* Bentley Wood, Wiltshire - butterflies
* Wyre Forest, Worcestershire - ancient woods.
* New Forest
- ancient trees and deer.
What's interesting about woodland areas is that they
often have open areas with ponds.
Bookham Commons in Northants has no less
than 12 separate ponds within its grounds, five of which were man-made to help
propagate fish production in the 17th Century.
You can make the most of
a pond watching trip by following these tips from our nature team:
Avoid sudden movements and try to keep your shadow off the surface of the water
as this may hinder insect activity.
for vegetation like lily pads on which Emperor Dragonflies, which can be identified
by their bright blue abdomen, sometimes land.
If you can't see any lily pads try creating your own insect landing spot by gently
sliding a small twig onto the surface of the water.
Take a jam jar and a small magnifying glass to catch and examine freshwater pond-life
- but don't forget to put it back!
or lunchtime is best as insects are generally more active around this time due
to the warmer temperatures.
* If you want to take pictures make sure to
use a digital camera with a fast action mode - many pond-skimmers move too fast
to get a good shot otherwise.
make great habitats for butterflies and moths especially in areas with a profusion
Here's our top tips for making
the most of this activity:
you tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth? Moths have a hook linking
their hindwing to their forewing which butterflies don't have.
Look closely on flowers and leaves where butterflies tend to land to rest, but
don't touch - their wings are very fragile and could disintegrate at the lightest
* During the day, take a moth net to
swish along the ground but don't forget - be careful and make sure you put them
* Nocturnal moth-watching
can be very interesting - take a white sheet and a torch and just be patient!
A good identification guide is essential so you know what you're looking at.
Butterfly and Castle Eden Dene
photos copyright and courtesy of Natural England and Peter Wakely.