10 British Wildlife To Spot In July


July is a great time to spot some unique wildlife in Britain. Mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and plants all have their place in Britain, and July is a fantastic time to see some of these at their best and most unique.

Please read on to find ten British wildlife you can spot in July.

Great skua

Britain has many seabird colonies all over the country, but it is best to visit Scotland in July to see Great skuas. The Shetland and Orkney Isles are famous for their skua colonies which can also be found in mainland Scotland but nowhere else in Britain.

Be careful when visiting them as they will divebomb passers-by that get too close to their nests. Skuas are ready to fledge in July, and many young birds can be seen making their first flight in July. Great skuas are excellent parents and can be seen greeting each other with loud calls.

Do you know what wildlife lives in marshes in spring? Find out here

Longhorn beetle

Longhorn beetle

Longhorn beetles are a group of insects with over 35,000 species worldwide. Only about 70 of these live in Britain, and they can be found mainly in summer, making July an excellent time to spot them.

Recognisable by the long antennae and distinctive markings, longhorn beetles start their lives as larvae in rotting log piles or stumps. As they grow, they feed on flowers such as hawthorn and can be spotted on Dogwood Hogweed. If you want to spot longhorn beetles, then the best time to go out is after sundown with a torch.

Burying beetles bury entire animals. Find out why here

Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders are unique as they don’t spin webs instead of chasing down and pouncing on their prey. While they are not usually dangerous to humans, some people have an allergic reaction to their venom.

Female wolf spiders are doting parents and can be seen in July rustling in the leaf litter in woodlands. They carry the egg sacs on their backs before hatching, held by spinnerets on the abdomen. By July, the eggs may have hatched, depending on the temperature, and the female may carry up to about 40 babies on her back as she moves about.

Dyer’s greenweed

Dyer’s greenweed was once used as a yellow and green dye for colouring clothing. It can be found across most of England and Wales, where it blends in along railway embankments, meadows, woodlands verges, and grassy road edges. Dyer’s greenweed is green most of the year, but it turns a vibrant yellow in July.

The yellow flowers appear from July to September that moths and other insects feed on. There are approximately 20 different types of moths that feed on the plant. These include several rare British species such as the Large Gold Case-bearer and the Greenweed Flat-body that shares its name with its food source. Dyer’s greenweed is also used in many modern medicines for skin diseases due to its properties.

Duckweed is a plant, not an animal. Find out more here

Purple emperor butterfly

Not the most accessible butterfly to spot, the Purple emperor butterfly spends most of its life high up mature oak trees. July is the best month to see the Purple emperor butterfly, but it is not always possible. They lay their eggs on mature sallow bushes, and this is probably the best chance you have of seeing one.

Males can be seen flying to the ground mid-morning in search of animal dung and seem particularly attracted to horse dung. However, it is up to you if you want to sit by horse dung waiting for one. They can be found in the south of England, but their population does seem to be expanding slowly.

Summer in a pinewood is my favourite. Find what wildlife you may spot here.

Lesser black-backed gull

If you want to watch lesser black-backed gulls at different stages of the breeding cycle, then mid-July is the best time. While some chicks will have hatched and will be fed by an adult, others will still be sitting on their eggs, waiting.

They can be found on dunes and sea cliffs with abundant vegetation and in flooded gravel pits inland and freshwater marshes. The best place to spot the black-backed gull is on Walney Island, Cumbria, where a third of the population lives.

Do you know what wildlife lives in summer meadows? Find out here

Hedgehog

Hedgehog

July is an excellent time to see hedgehogs in your garden after dark as they move around. It may be a small family of hedgehogs if you hear rustling among the bushes and fallen leaves. Youngsters can often be seen moving around with their mothers, and you may be able to listen to the squeals of the youngsters as they separate from their mothers.

Hedgehogs may have two litters during the year, one in June and later in summer. As the young grow, they need to feed, so families can often be seen foraging for beetles, slugs, and snails.

Noctule bat

The Noctule bat is Britain’s largest bat and can be found while walking through the woods. You may see the Noctule bat if you are out for a stroll just before sunset. They fly fast and high, rapidly twisting and turning in flight.

In July, when there is plenty of food for bats, such as moths and beetles, bats are much more plentiful than in some other months. You may often see their smaller cousins, Pipistrelles, but you may be surprised at how large they are when seeing a Noctule bat. They can be quite the sight with a wingspan of 35-45 centimetres and large eyes. If you see a hole in a tree, it could be the roost of a Noctule bat, but please, don’t get too close.

Common frog

July is often a great time to see many frogs departing their spawning grounds. The frogs metamorphose from spawn, growing legs and transforming into young frogs, and hundreds of them can often be seen leaving ponds simultaneously.

Frogs love damp conditions, and July showers allow them to use the humid conditions to move from the water onto land. Unfortunately, not all return to their spawning grounds to breed as they often end up as a tasty meal for other animals.

Do you know how frogs and toads communicate? Find out here

Grass snake

July brings along an ample food supply for one of our three snake species, the grass snake. Grass snakes feed on frogs found around or leaving the ponds for the first time. Grass snakes share the habitat of many frogs and can be found in the grass surrounding ponds.

Grass snakes can also swim and sometimes be found swimming among newly transformed frogs. While they are not venomous to humans, a grass snake can mean the end of frogs and tadpoles.

Like the Virginia opossum, grass snakes can play dead and release a foul-smelling odour when attacked, making it less appealing to eat by a predator.

If you want to know how snakes eat their prey, I have written an article here.

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