May Wildlife

The best month for birdsong and for birdwatching as the summer visitors are here. A good month for insect activity and a wonderful month for flowers!

Flora

Hawthorn, Rowan, Elder, Guelder Rose, Wild Service-tree, Holly, Apple and Bramble in flower.

Oak comes into leaf.

Flowers this month include: Ragged Robin, Pineappleweed, Ramsons, Bugle, Ox-eye Daisy, Sorrel, Hedge Mustard, Wood Avens, Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Solomon’s-seal, Water-crowfoot, Red Campion, Tormentil, Yellow Archangel, Common Nettle, Hemlock and Field Poppy.

Morels – edible spring fungi – appear on old fire sites in woodland.

Birds

Cuckoos are breeding and laying in host nests (usually Reed warblers).

Late nesting birds: Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Lesser Whitethroat, Swallow, House Martin, Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Nightjar and Spotted Flycatcher.

Insects and other Invertebrates

Honey Bee swarming season.

Cockchafer beetles (Maybugs) flying.

Common Blue butterfly in flight.

Most Damselflies are on the wing around late May: Beautiful Demoiselle, Banded Demoiselle, Large White, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies

Dragonflies: Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Black-tailed Skimmer, Four-spotted Chaser, Scarce Chaser and Broad-bodied Chaser.

Dragonfly nymphs are active and hunting in ponds.

Grasshopper nymphs appear.

Cinnabar moths flying.

Painted Ladies arrive from SW Europe/Africa and Clouded Yellow from S Europe.

First generation of Red Admiral, Brown Argus and Large White butterflies and single generation of Orange-tip all on the wing.

Caterpillars of Orange Tip, Small Copper, Large White and Green Veined White can be found.

Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper and Common Blue all pupate early.

Watch for male Wolf Spiders performing their courtship dance.

Mammals

Fallow Deer bucks sport new antler growth.

Muntjac losing antlers & Roe bucks losing velvet.

Young deer are born.

Fox cubs appear above ground.

Woodmice, Shrews, Squirrels and Weasels breeding.

Bats are fully active now and busy with feeding. Females gathering to form maternity colonies.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Newts breeding.

Froglets leave the pond late in May.

 Header: The Mint moth (Pyrausta aurata) in May, Radstock