Poppies in bloom.

Summer has certainly arrived at the farm this month, with warm temperatures and long sunny days during the month of June. Many of the trees we saw in blossom in the early spring have now developed seeds and fruits, and reddening cherries are particularly conspicuous at this time. However, there are many more summer wildlflowers coming into bloom at this time. Over the past month we’ve seen elder fill with white blossoms, fields of poppies and irises surround our ponds. These are just a few of the many blooms on the farm, and their arrival has been matched by an increase in pollinators, including bees, beetles and butterflies. The Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper butterflies will be emerging soon as well as Large, Small and Essex Skippers who will all be on the wing in July.

We have also seen lots of birds fledging over the past month including great tits, blue tits and crows. The short grassy fields are filled with juvenile starlings, who have a dull brown colour compared to the glossy iridescent and black adults.

More photos of some of our highlights of June and ones to watch this July below and hope you have a fantastic month of spotting wildlife! Remember, you can always share your finds with us via facebook, twitter or flickr!

A carpet of buttercups.

We begin June with lots of new greenery. The recent spell of warm weather has kickstarted new growth in both the trees and undergrowth. Much of the understory across the farm is now dominated by the white flowers of cow parsley and a wide variety of wildflowers can be spotted all across Mudchute including buttercups, ribwort plantain, cutleaf cranesbill, red campion and many more.

A tiny green Phyllobius weevil.

Warm weather and developing flora have also coaxed invertebrates of all sorts out of hibernation. The leafy understory is full of tiny beetles, flies, bugs and other invertebrates. Overhead, tender young tree leaves provide food for caterpillars, which will in turn, feed baby birds.

Many young birds will begin to leave the nest this month.

All across the farm, birds will be hurriedly carrying invertebrate prey to their nestlings. Those who began nesting early will already have youngsters beginning to fledge. You may come across young birds who are in the process of leaving the nest. If you do encounter a baby bird without its parents, keep a watchful eye, but this is likely part of the normal fledging process and the young birds should be left alone as its parents are likely searching for food and continuing to feed them. For more information, please read the following advice pages from the RSPB.

Down on the ponds, damselflies and dragonflies will also be appearing, emerging as larvae from the waters where they have overwintered to moult into winged adults. Within the ponds, tadpoles and newt larvae are growing rapidly on algae and vegetation underwater. These incredible creatures were the focus of a recent identification workshop held here at Mudchute and run by FrogLife (read more about the course here from Tower Habitats).

See more of just some of the creatures we’ve encountered and don’t forget that you can share your own finds with us via twitter, facebook or flickr!

Thank you to all who joined us early this morning for a dawn chorus walk around the farm and to John Archer who led our walk. Birds were singing at full strength in the morning sunshine, which was shining brightly already by 5:30am. Wrens and robins were certainly among the most prevalent and conspicuous singers, but we also heard great tits, blue tits, black caps, monk parakeets, mistle thrushes, greenfinches, dunnocks, chiffchaffs and more. We even spotted a greater spotted woodpecker and grey heron flying overhead. Can’t think of a better way to celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day!

For those who couldn’t join us, you can get a glimpse of the sights and sounds of this morning in the brief clips below and the gallery on the next page.

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