Out Now - Wildlife and Places to See in May!
Here you can find out about the wildlife you can seen in Wiltshire and Swindon at the moment. Visit this months featured site to see a wealth of wildlife, take a look at our identification guide to find out a group you are most likely to see, don’t forget to send us in your records!
Three to Spot
Ragged-Robin - Lychnis flos-cuculi is a beautiful native herb named for its ragged-looking pink petals. It grows in a variety of damp habitats including marshes, rush-pasture, wet grassland and damp woodland glades and margins; in Wiltshire it is often associated with river floodplain grassland. It can be abundant in unimproved meadows on clay and also persists in ditches and other marginal ground next to fields and railways in areas where it grew previously. The ragged petals are divided into narrow segments; the pink flowers (which can sometimes range to deep red) are borne between May and July and are 30-40mm across.
Yellow iris - Iris pseudacorus One of only two native British irises, the bright yellow flowers of this plant flutter in the wind and resemble flags which give the plant its other common name of Yellow Flag. Can be found throughout the county in wet meadows, wet woodlands, lakes, ponds, canals and rivers. Although it grows best in wet conditions it can survive prolonged dry conditions. It is a perennial herb that grows between 1-1.5m tall and when it is in flower, from May to July, it can be easily identified. The yellow flowers are 7-10cm across and can vary in colour from a pale yellow to orange-yellow; each plant may bear up to 12 flowers.
Bramble - Rubus fruticosus the very familiar bramble or blackberry are deciduous, semi-evergreen scrambling shrubs. These sprawling shrubs can form very dominant stands up to 3m tall in woodlands, hedges, wasteground and banks thriving best on acidic soils although they have a great tolerance for other soils types. They are spread by bird dispersed seeds and are able to take root at the tip of their thick prickly stems. It is in leaf from March to November, their leaves have toothed edges and small prickles on the underneath. Flowers are out from May to September which are rose-like, white to pink and are crinkly, it fruits at the same time as flowering and the well known berries are shiny black or purple red which are ripe from July.
This Months Must See
House Martin - Delichon urbicaBeing summer migrants House Martins will migrate back to Britain during the summer having spent the winter period in Africa, during May they can be seen collecting mud to repair the nests they used the previous year. However in the case of younger birds who have not yet made a resident nest in Britain, they can be seen building their first nest under the eaves of buildings. Their appearance is quite distinctive given that they have glossy blue and black upper parts, pure white plumage on their chest, legs and feet and a forked tail. Although still numerous in numbers their population has seen a recent decline which has ultimately placed them on the Amber List.
Identify Trees in Leaf In spring and summer it becomes easier to identify trees by looking at the leaves, in autumn when the trees put on a fantastic display of colour they can still be identified by shape. This guide takes you through some of the easier to identify species you can see. Find out how to identify trees in leaf with our ID guide
Explore Clanger, Picket and Round Woods Lying between Trowbridge and Westbury this collection of 3 woods are flower rich ancient woodlands supporting an amazing range of butterfly and moth species; due to this Clanger and Picket woods have been designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Picket and Clanger Wood is a floristically-rich ancient woodland, and its importance as a butterfly site is nationally recognised and reinforced through its designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Find out more about Clanger, Picket and Round Woods
Send in records of any sightings
All environmental records are important, from the most common to the rarest, from the flocks of birds in the air to the fish in the river; we would like to hear about what you see in Wiltshire and Swindon. If you have already sent us records, thank you very much. We are always interested in receiving more. We would rather receive duplicate records than none at all. Don’t forget to send us any records of your sightings along with any photos