An update from Lindy – our Tour Guide Manager and Conservationist
June brings us the longest days of the year. It is the most prolific of summer months, a great time to walk our beautiful trails on the Estate and admire the explosion of vegetation in our hedgerows and wildflower meadows.
Birdsong has usually peaked by now as parents are busy feeding their young. This gives us the opportunity to hear more of our insects buzzing, droning, humming, and beating their wings to provide a cacophony. Each species has its own sound and these variations may be connected with attracting a mate or simply as a sonic message to their own kind.
The unmistakable noise of a grasshopper is a familiar sound in June. To hear this small, but noisy, species is a positive sign that the ecology of the Estate is working. They are crucial in maintaining our grassy areas in a healthy condition. Along with crickets, which are often evening visitors, they epitomise summer.
Butterflies are starting to emerge in larger numbers and we are regularly fortunate to see Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Cabbage Whites as well as the ornate Red Admirals. Our stinging nettle patches – look beneath the huge oak tree just before the hill branching off on the blue or yellow route – provide an ideal area for them to lay their eggs and pupate before maturing into an adult. They love the nectar from our wildflowers and provide a fabulous rainbow of colours, so good for the environment and for the soul.
The wildflower meadows are beginning to fill and many species will start to bloom. Birds-foot Trefoil is one of the most protein pollen rich flowers and Oxeye Daisies will be everywhere. Common Knapweed and Sorrel are also in abundance as are Buttercups and Cowslips as well as Queen Anne’s Lace. These provide a glorious palette of colour especially when crimson Poppies and blue Cornflowers also appear. We manage the meadows by cutting them after the summer blooms are over and allowing the seeds to drop to provide for the following year’s regeneration.
As these wildflowers grow and become taller they become a summer habitat for small mammals such as voles and shrews. In turn these provide a source of nutrition for our birds of prey with their amazing eyesight and ability to hover and swoop. The circle of life is constant and this is a beautiful place to appreciate the vibrancy of summer.
Book a place on our Summer Nature Tour to witness some of the sights and sounds of Balfour in summer.
Sunday 26th June | 10.30am or 1.30pm | £55pp