August is the month of school holidays, the time when high summer turns to late summer and when a visit to the seaside is never more appropriate. This is a great opportunity to go and investigate the foreshore at Trelissick beach – go searching under the seaweed, peek into rock crevices and dabble in rock pools for crabs, limpets, snails and shrimps!
With large numbers of visitors and hot, dry weather, the parkland can begin to look a bit parched as grasses brown off and tree leaves give just a hint of gold. You only have to stray as far as a hedgerow or a bramble patch to find colour though, with blackberries starting to ripen toward sweet, delicious black and elderberries providing a feast for blackbirds and starlings.
Whilst picking blackberries, why not keep an eye out for butterflies? Meadow browns, small skippers and large whites are all ‘on the wing’ at the moment and are certainly a lovely sight to see.
Below the hedgerow proper, lords and ladies have completely died back, revealing their fruiting stem of bright, shiny red berries. They might look attractive but don’t pick them because they are poisonous! This is also the ‘lady’ part of the well known moniker in case you were wondering….
Grasshoppers make themselves very much known during august by making their characteristic racket (known as ‘stridulating’) from within the long grass. They are masters of camouflage so can be fairly difficult to spot but patience and sitting still for a minute is often the best approach. The fields at Tregew, with their long grasses and wild flowers are a brilliant place to find them in abundance.
Out on the woodland walks, take a look upwards into the canopy and you might well notice sycamores have produced their famous ‘helicopter’ seed pods, along with field maples and hornbeams. They are still green and ripening at this time but soon they will be ready to flutter down and carpet the woodland floor.
Just around the corner, as we approach autumn, keep your eyes peeled for ‘haws’ on the hawthorn trees, sloes on the blackthorn and rosehips adorning our beautiful wild roses. These wonderful fruits will sustain many species of our native British wildlife through the harsh winter months to come.
Many thanks for reading and, as ever, enjoy the countryside!
– Ranger team, Trelissick and North Helford
All illustrations by Sonia Hensler