August bank holiday, the day where the cities empty as everyone scrambles to the countryside to enjoy the sunshine. Below are some things to look for across the month.
August bank holiday is the time to see the flowers of willowherb, evening primrose and bindweed, which are widespread in many habitats. Also, keep a lookout for the flowers and seed cases of yellow rattle in grasslands and listen for the sound as you walk through it. In woods and hedges, the first fruits of lords and ladies are showing and blackberries are beginning to ripen.
The first wintering waders such as black-tailed godwits, turnstones and grey plovers are beginning to arrive at the estuaries. Offshore, Manx shearwaters are heading south after breeding off the Welsh and Scottish coasts. If you’re lucky you may see dolphins or even a minke whale off the west coast, in particular, Cardigan Bayis a hotspot for dolphins with a pod that lives there all year round. There are several charities in the area that run identification courses allowing you to see these creatures up close.
Young foxes are playing in fields and quiet urban areas. They are often less scared of humans than the adults so it is a good time to get some fantastic pictures if you happen to know where some play. My local foxes, for instance, spend the night around a roundabout that is home to a large population of rabbits, so the cubs can be seen playing in the road in the very early morning and will ignore you if you remain in your car.
Grasshoppers and bush crickets are calling now. You can identify the bush crickets by looking for their long antennae. The best places are sunny grasslands and hedgerows.
Reptiles 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.