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 Lackford Lakes. Image: Steve Aylward
Lake, Park, Heath and Woods - Local Wildlife Hotspots to Visit
1. Lackford Lakes – a short drive west of Bury, managed by Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Very friendly and welcoming to beginners, with an indoor viewing area, binocular hire, hides and walks.
2. Nowton Park – a great green open space – look for unusual trees, woodpeckers and the wildflower meadow in summer.
3. Knettishall Heath – north of Bury on the edge of Breckland where the sandy soil means the plants and wildlife differ from further south. Look for autumn flowering heather, squirrels and Muntjac deer.
4. Bradfield Woods – full of birdsong in spring, primroses and cowslips. A cool place to walk on warm summer days.
Summer Wildlife in your Garden
1. Song Thrush – attracted by slugs and snails, so avoid using pesticides.
2. Hedgehogs – leave piles of leaves and twigs in a quiet corner, and gaps under fences. Seek out at dusk.
3. Peacock Butterfly – mid-summer onwards on nectar rich
plants; Buddleia, Spiraea, Sedum, Nettles.
4. Frogs or newts – just a very small pond, even a bucket sunk into
the ground and large stones, are enough to attract these amphibians.
5. Woodlouse and Millipedes – small piles of wood left to rot are ideal habitat, as are large stones. Carefully turn over to peep underneath.
6. Swallows, House Martins and Swifts – you may have to look high above your garden, but it’s always exciting to see their aerial display.
‘ most likely in their own backyards. For a child, watching a harmless bee caught inside the window, discovering a woodlouse under a brick, or perhaps making a daisy chain, can spark a life-long connection with the wider environment. For many adults the link may well have been broken from the teens onwards, but this can easily be rekindled.
Fortunately, observing nature is something most of us can take part in, as wildlife can be found all around us almost wherever we are. The subject is so vast that it encompasses the miniscule to the mighty, the shy and the flamboyant, the subtle and the garish. Even if we stay indoors, we can observe spiders on the ceiling, Blue Tits in the garden, and from our screens, all the wildlife of the world.
So for starters, simply start taking a look in your garden. Garden birds are easy to identify even from a window, popular species being Blue Tits, Blackbirds (the females are brown), Sparrows, Starlings and of course the much-loved Robin. If you’re lucky you may also get visits from less common species such as Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Greenfinch or Sparrowhawk. If you start listing what you see, the date and time, you will discover which species appear at different times of the year and day – try keeping a diary to look back on. If you’re not sure of what you’re looking at, there are many simple guidebooks or just check it out online. Before you know it your repertoire
Children are often fascinated by the smallest of creatures, such as beetles, earwigs, spiders and slugs.
will increase. You’ll also find that whilst bird-watching, you’re unwittingly observing other aspects at the same time. For instance, the way birds interact with certain areas of your garden; their food sources and preferred habitats will become apparent. You may also see larger insects, small mammals such as mice, hedgehogs and grey squirrels, and even a mole if you’re lucky.
If you spend some of your time with children then watching wildlife will reward you all. Children are often fascinated by the smallest of creatures, such as beetles, earwigs, spiders and slugs. If you’re squeamish try not to let it show, and you’ll find the kids exploring further.
Your garden is your closest wildlife habitat and you’ll soon discover which areas, plants and features appeal to different wildlife species. You can attract more interest if you provide feeders for birds, bug hotels and hedgehog hideaways. A small pair of binoculars will make you feel even closer. Once you’re familiar with your own territory, you’ll then be exploring your local area and its wildlife hotspots. In the countryside, look out for Dandelions, Blackberry, Hawthorn and Nettles – these all attract insects and birds. Before too long your interest will expand and you’ll find yourself having a rewarding pastime.
   Wildlife Wonder – 5 Plants to Attract
Cotoneaster – there are many varieties, all carry lots of flowers and berries.
Buddleia – rightly known as the Butterfly Bush. Lavender – flowers all summer, a garden favourite for a whole host of insects (shown below).
Catmint – attractive to cats and wilder animals too Herbs – e.g. Thyme, Feverfew, Mints – most herbs are great insect food sources.

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