Nature Notes August 2019

Total monthly rainfall: 44.5 millimetres. Maximum daily rainfall: 10.5 millimetres (9th August). There were 14 days with measurable rainfall, and only 6 days with 100% cloud-cover for at least part of the day. Maximum temperature on the warmest days was 31°C on August 25th, 26th, and 27th. On the coldest days it was 17°C on the 10th and 14th of August. Temperatures were below 20°C between the 10th and 20th, except on the 17th and 18th, when the temperature reached 20 degrees. This gave an autumnal edge to the month, accentuated by the strong winds on the 10th. We calculate these to be force 6, gusting force 8, and resulted in bringing down a large goat willow by the lake, and a wild hop and trellis by the front corner of the house – together with many leaves and small branches in the wood.


We have one new wildflower and three fruiting shrubs to record this month. The wildflower was a redshank on the 2nd, bringing our annual wildflower total to 62 species. The shrubs were ripe elderflower (2nd), hawthorn berries (24th), and blackthorn sloes (30th).

With the weather so autumnal we saw no new species of butterfly this month, and only two moth species – a mother of pearl moth among lakeside foliage on the 7th, and 20 buff-tip moth caterpillars devouring lakeside willow leaves on the 30th. Our moth species total now stands at 37.

Two new species of dragonfly appeared this month to bring our total for the year to 20. On August 6th, 21 migrant hawkers appeared around our site to give us a very late first-sighting, while on the 21st, we spotted two willow emerald damselflies on goat willow at the back woodland pond.

There remains a diverse mixture of first-sightings, beginning, in order of appearance, with a wasp spider on August 2nd - the first of six to be discovered in gaps among our meadow flowers and grasses. Wasp spiders love undisturbed and unimproved pastures, but disappeared from our site on 7th September 2014, presumably because we allowed some cattle to graze our fields while protecting the wasp spiders with sheep hurdles - destroying their surrounding habitat in the process. On August 9th at 9pm we walked the dogs as darkness approached. During the walk we went round part of the wood, where we saw three glow-worms. We were thrilled to see that they are still on our property, as we avoid night-time walks these days for safety reasons. On the morning of August 21st we found a common shrew beneath a reptile shelter, while during the afternoon, Gill Brook spotted a water ladybird among marginal rushes on our lake.

Finally, two other sightings of interest occurred involving repeat sightings. On August 7th, from a window we photographed a green woodpecker foraging for ants on our back lawn, and on August 18th, we watched as our swallows fledged their second brood.