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.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. 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).