Downs diary

August

This is an exciting month of abundance, with juicy berries ripening all over the Downs. The birds go a bit quiet at this time of year as many of them moult their feathers, however robins can be heard singing their autumnal song, hidden in dense bushes. Swifts start their long migration back to Africa. Part of arriving safely involves forecasting the weather and making good use of favourable winds. Pretty amazing!

Queen wasps will lay eggs from which males and new queens hatch. The males die and the new queens look for places to hibernate for the winter. The old queen then dies and the papery wasp’s nest is abandoned. Harebells make an appearance with their beautiful purple bell-shaped flowers. Blackberries and elderberries can be seen all over the Downs – birds insects and mammals will be joining in the feast! Look out for fox poo, which will be full of partly digested blackberries!

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Photographs © Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project, Denice Stout, Emma Davis.