Nature Diary - What to Photograph in July

03rd July 2009
Dragonflies and Damselflies - July is a great month to look out for these, hopefully some examples on my site soon. Try and get out early before they’ve warmed up and find them on their roosting perches. Not only will this allow you an easier opportunity to photograph them but if your lucky they may be covered in droplets of dew. The sites I find most at in Nottinghamshire are along the banks of the river Trent, Maun or Meden. It can also be profitable to visit Spalford Warren nature reserve which surprisingly has no water but can have lots coming over the road from the nearby Girton sailing lakes.

Reptiles - I advise getting out early again for these. Look for a bright day with some cloud. Because reptiles have to regulate their temperature by basking in the sun they will be more sluggish first thing in the morning. Best sites include heathland and surprisingly I have had some success on abandoned railway embankments. Reptiles will detect you by feeling the vibration of your footsteps through the ground, therefore you must tread quietly and look ahead. I have found that although reptiles need to bask in the open they will never be far away from thick cover. If you walk over ground and find discarded metal sheeting or wood always lift as their may be a slow worm underneath. A word of caution, I would advise lifting sheets with a stick as I once did this to be faced with an adder which struck at me narrowly missing my fingers!

Butterflies - July should see an explosion of these. Much the same as dragonflies an early start is recommended as this is when they are most sluggish. We have well over fifty species of butterfly in the UK and most sites should have at least a couple to keep you entertained.

Flowers - Our meadows and woodland rides will now have an abundance of flowers. Don’t forget to look at the differing grasses and the insect and bug life down at the lower levels.

Birds - This will be one of the last chances you get this season to visit nesting seabird colonies. As mentioned last month Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast is the closest to me and is well worth a visit. Although very difficult to get images of the swallows, martins and swifts are all in abundance this month. A more realistic shot may be when they briefly rest on telephone wires, however, if your really skilled why not have a go at some very difficult flight shots!


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