The tell-tale signs that spring is quickly transitioning into summer are becoming ever more frequent as we head into May. Last week we saw the fledgling waterbirds in Roath Park make an appearance, the first signs of swifts who have returned from Africa, and well, it’s just got a lot warmer here in Wales!
That’s not where it ends though, and there are plenty more #summervibes you can find in and around your local parks and nature reserves. One of my favourites is the return of the Song Thrush’s song! They’re a lot louder this time of year, and despite being red listed with the RSPB, there are plenty of places you can find them in the cities, just look for wooded areas. You’ll hear them before you see them, they sound similar to a blackbird, but will often repeat the same things over and over again.
And the Bees…
There’s also an increase of pollinators in the air; bees, flies, butterflies and moths. Whilst the latter is more elusive, it’s just as important to provide food for these guys, so make sure you plant moth friendly plants in your window boxes! But during the day it’s the first three you’re most likely to encounter. I’ve made it my personal mission to be able to identify the different species of bee a lot better this year, so here will be the test of this!
Below is a tree bumblebee, which you can tell by it’s overall fuzzy appearance, rusty orange back and white tail, unlike our other rusty friend, the carder bee, which has a stripy tail. I found a few of these making the most of the hybrid bluebells in the local park – a pairing of two introduced species, as neither the bee or the bluebell are originally native to the UK! Just shows how much our wildlife is changing. I’ll probably have to remember even more bees in the future, so I better get revising the ones already here!
There’s also a whole host of white late-spring flowering plants littering the verges and wilder areas of our parks. The hybrid bluebell pictured above also comes in white, which you can see below. They’re lovely but are a problem for our native bluebells as they’re mixing with our native species which is creating problems with disease. On a more positive note, there was plenty of Cow Parsley about, which is a sure sign of better weather as it prolifically flowers in the warmer temperatures. The wild garlic (ramsons) has also began flowering. It’s globe flower heads have really delicate petals which are a hit with flying insects, and if you’re by water, you’ll probably see a lot of both of those as it gets warmer!
More colourful flowers you might spot at this time of year include the Campion and Corncockle, two similar pink flowering plants which come out to play when the sunshines. Pollinators LOVE these, so if you find some and want to watch pollinators, your best bet is to hang by them for a bit! Celandines are also still flowering and providing a welcome dash of yellow to the verges and parks. I find out about plants using the Woodland Trust’s website, it’s such a great resource!
This is all from one wander round the park, so I’m sure I’ll spot some new things as I trundle around Cardiff looking for wild things. Make sure you keep up to date with my latest posts to find out what else I find!