What you might see

Summer is the peak time for purple heather with the added bonus of the many insects. Watch out for silver-studded blue butter­­flies; heath sand wasps in the bare sand and by the many wet areas dragonflies such as black darter and the large golden-ringed. Holes the size of your finger, surrounded by piles of sand, are made by the minotaur beetle. The hobby hunts over the heath for dragonflies and later in the year swallows and martins on migration, which it feeds to it young in flight. Listen out for its call that to some sounds like ‘kill, kill, kill’. And don’t forget the nightjars.

As the days shorten, the thousands of spiders become more apparent with dewdrops settling on their webs creating beautiful miniature chandeliers. On sunny days the beautiful descending song of the woodlark can still be heard in winter as they are the first birds to set up territories in early spring. Flocks of siskin, linnet and lesser redpoll gather.

Spring is best for bird song including the tree pipit that has a spiral display flight from the tops of birch. The now uncommon willow warblers can frequently be heard as can stonechats with their distinctive alarm call.

tiger beetle / Graeme Lyons

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