Out Now - Wildlife and Places to See in July!
Here you can find out about the wildlife you can see in Wiltshire and Swindon at the moment. Visit this month's featured site to see a wealth of wildlife, take a look at our identification guide to find out more about a species group you might see, and don’t forget to send us in your records!
Three to Spot
Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui a long-distance migratory butterfly that is easily recognised by its orange and black patterns and white spots. Travelling all the way from North Africa and the Middle East, the return of this large butterfly is a welcome indicator of summer ahead. Each year, the Painted Ladies long-distance migration causes the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland. It spreads northwards from North Africa reaching Britain and Ireland. Numbers peak in late summer and in some years it is an abundant butterfly. Several generations may occur in hot summers, but as the weather deteriorates, all caterpillars, chrysalises and adults perish.
Dog Rose – Rosa canina a widely-spread native deciduous climbing shrub which grows up to 3m in height, and is the commonest rose species in Wiltshire. It is widely distributed throughout the county in hedges, woodland edges and in a range of open habitats and is an early coloniser of open ground such as disused railway embankments, spoil heaps and other well-lit open ground, as well as in hedgerows and woodland edges. Flowering in June and July with a mass of delicate flowers that are delicately fragranced, bowl-shaped and grow in clusters of one to three; they are white to pink in colour and have five petals. It has prickly (hooked spines) stems which are green to purple becoming brown with age. The toothed leaves are dark green to blue-green, and both surfaces are usually hairless and unscented.
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 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. The leaves are erect and sword-like with a bluish tinge and a prominent midrib; they can grow up to 90cm long and 3cm across.
This Month's Must See
White-legged Damselfly - Platycnemis pennipesDistinctive white legs hanging down in flight make the White-legged Damselfly an easy species to spot. Their colour varies between genders with males a pale blue while females develop from a creamy white to a pale green when mature. On the wing through June to early September White-legged damselflies are best seen in mid July when they are at their most colourful. In Wiltshire they are locally common along parts of the Bristol Avon and the adjoining parts of the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Wildflowers Take advantage of the beautiful summer wildflowers while you can! Hues of blues, reds and yellows (to name a few) are transforming woodlands and meadows across the county as wildflowers are in full bloom. Now is the time to enjoy this spectacle of not only the flowers, but also the many other species they support including an array of insects. Find out about identifying wildflowers you see this month with our ID guide
Explore Bentley Wood SSSI Bentley Wood, together with the adjacent Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Reserve Blackmoor Copse, forms one of the largest contiguous areas of woodland in Wiltshire. July in Bentley Wood belongs to the Purple Emperor. This spectacular butterfly is rarely seen due to their liking for the lofty canopy of deciduous woodland. However Bentley Wood in July is a particularly good spot to see them as they feed upon tree sap and sometimes come down to feed in muddy puddles, carrion and dung. Find out more about Bentley Wood SSSI
Send in records of any sightings
All species records are important, from the commonest to the rarest: plants, bird, reptiles, beetles, butterflies, mammals and more. We want to know about what you've seen in Wiltshire and Swindon and need up to date information to form an accurate picture of the state of our wildlife. If you have already sent us records, thank you very much. Don’t forget to send us any records of your sightings along with any photos (if using Living Record just email us these separately).