Oxeye daisies and baby blue tits: May news and photos

Judith Garforth, 20/06/2019

May was a busy month for nature as your records clearly show: we’ve received 1392 sightings already.

When looking at your lovely photos and comments it’s clear that you are observing nature in all sorts of different habitats including gardens, town parks, city streets, nature reserves, woodlands and even car parks. You’re even watching from the comfort of your sofa now that bird box cameras are becoming increasingly popular! It really shows that anyone can take part in the project, no matter where you live, so why not encourage a friend or relative to join in too?

Oxeye daisy first flowering

I’ve noticed oxeye daisies brightening up the roadsides recently. You’ve sent in 62 records of oxeye daisy first flowering during May and these photos show the petals opening up. Try to record first flowering when the petals have opened up just enough for you to see inside the flower. Sometimes this happens very quickly; one day they might be closed completely and the next day they might be completely open. If you haven’t seen any open yet don’t worry, it’s normal for first flowering to continue into June.

Oxeye daisy (Mary Kerby)

Oxeye daisy (Rachel Nankervis)

Oxeye daisy (Wendy Handford)

Blue tit first feeding young

We’ve received 129 records of blue tit first feeding young in May. We can tell from your photos that increasingly you’re observing the life cycle of blue tits (and other birds) using bird box cameras. The advantage is that this provides us with very accurate dates for first feeding of young and a fascinating insight into what goes on in the nest. But not all blue tits have chosen bird boxes this spring. They have been spotted nesting in a ecualytpus tree trunk, in a small hole in the brick wall of a recorders house, just below a recorder’s gutter and even behind an oven extractor fan! These birds have been seen flying in and out of the nest with beaks full of insects.

Blue tits feeding young (Ady Woods)

Blue tit gathering food (Lynne Mumby)

Blue tit returning to the nest (Jane Gilmore)

Cuckoo first recorded

The cuckoo is more elusive. Although we’ve received 82 records of cuckoo first recorded in May, mostly they have only been heard and not seen. We’ve not been sent a photo yet this year but we have received some wonderful comments that really bring the records to life.

 

“I have heard a cuckoo in woods near our paddocks for a few years. I have to be up early to hear it and it is always when we are competing the horses so are up at about 5.30am otherwise I don't hear it. It is worth getting up for! Beautiful sound reminding me of my childhood.”

 

“Such a late first record we were worried we weren’t going to hear it at all this year. Previous years we have generally heard it first late April and then pretty much every day throughout the season. So far (now 25 May) we have heard it only 4-5 times”

Grasses first flowering

You can record the flowering of four species of grass for Nature’s Calendar. They tend to start flowering from April to June, and although identifying grasses might seem a bit daunting at first, we have a handy blog to help you tell them apart. Why not have a go this year? We’ve been sent some great photos during May.

Cocksfoot (Peter Gordon Smith)

Yorkshire fog (Lynne Mumby)

Meadow foxtail (Mary Kerby)

Beautiful butterflies

We’ve been sent so many beautiful photos this month, here are just a few.

Orange tip (Lorraine Shepherd)

Speckled wood (Conrad Maloney)

Holly blue (Kelly Monday)

Late June is a quiet time for Nature’s Calendar, but the perfect time to make sure you have recorded all your spring sightings and to plan which species and events you’ll look out for over the summer. Depending where in the UK you live, you may still have time to spot first flowering of dog rose and elder in June. Blackberries and rowan berries may start to ripen in July.

Join thousands of other people and let us know what's happening to wildlife near you.

Join thousands of other people and let us know what's happening to wildlife near you.

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