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August News

An update from Lindy – our Tour Guide Manager and Conservationist

This is another beautiful month to be walking on the Estate. Summer has become a little ‘untidy’ in some ways, particularly in the heat of the last month. Grasses and wildflowers will be affected by the hot and dry conditions this year and although still providing some cover for many invertebrates and small mammals, their flowers routinely fade in August and seed heads emerge to give a different kind of sculptural effect. This may be speedier this year although there are still plenty of insects foraging amongst them and their droning can be heard during a leisurely stroll.

Likewise, August can become a quieter month for wildlife generally. The breeding season for birds is all but over and cuckoos have long gone back to central Africa. Their offspring has been raised by other ‘host’ birds who then have the task of finding their way during migration for the first time. Approximately 50% of the UK bird species in total migrate, some on the long journey like the cuckoo and some much shorter journeys. Every species has its own route to follow which is a marvel of nature. With a lot of these birds preparing to leave, birdsong is noticeably less in this month.

One sound which will be familiar is that of grasshoppers and crickets. During daylight walks the sound you will most likely hear are grasshoppers rubbing their hind legs against their wings. Later in the day it is probably the sound of crickets, simply rubbing their wings together. They do this to ‘advertise’ themselves to their own species. Both these species also have different dietary requirements – grasshoppers feeding on grass and crickets preying on insects and therefore omnivorous. Bumble bees and hoverflies are also out and about in force as well as many other flying insects and whichever you hear, it is a privilege and sure sign that the ecosystem here is working as it should be and we are fortunate to experience this on our lovely Estate.

A final thought to take away from August is to be aware that wasps, although irritating, are very necessary on our planet. Beneficial as predators in gardens, agriculture and at Hush Heath Estate, they are useful in hunting aphids and a natural controller of other horticultural/agricultural pests. They are also pollinators of some flowers and willingly share their nests with other species, like hoverflies, meaning they are favourable in various ways. To deter their interest in humans, if one approaches it is always best to stay still and not to flap arms or hands as this frightens them and they will become angry. Many wasps in fact do not sting, but those who do are attracted by bright-coloured clothes and various scents.

There is so much to look forward to and we hope you enjoy the lovely experiences of nature in this gorgeous month on our Estate.

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