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June butterflies and insects

Other June pages: Meadow and field flowersWayside flowers Downland and seaside flowersHedgerow, trees and berriesBirdsWeather

Picture: a marbled white butterfly roosting on a blade of grass. Click here for more June butterfly and insect photos. For more information on butterflies and moths see the Butterfly Conservation website.

Butterfly numbers can be quite low in the first half of June - the so-called "butterfly gap", with the overwintering and early spring species now largely gone, and the summer ones not starting to appear until later in the month. But this is still a great month for butterflies, with many different species on the wing. Flowering bramble bushes are a particularly good place to spot many of them.

Survivors from overwintering species that you may see in the first half of the month include the occasional peacock, probably looking rather tatty as it comes to the end of its life. Brimstones last a bit longer and may occasionally be seen quite late in the month. Look closely at any yellow butterfly you see, however, because early in the month it is just possible that it is a migrant clouded yellow: these in theory arrive in the UK towards the end of May and lay eggs (in Sussex a few may even overwinter), but are more normally seen in late July or August. Most years they are a very rare sight, but very occasionally there is a large incursion due to conditions on the continent.

There may also be a few white butterflies, but their population is at the lowest level it gets to in the whole spring and summer. The popular term for these butterflies is 'cabbage whites', but in fact there are three common species - large, small and green-veined - and it is almost impossible to tell them apart until they come to rest. Frustratingly they rarely do this and then usually just for a few seconds.

If you do see them at rest, the green-veined has a distinctive underwing which looks just as its name suggests. Both it and the small white have grey tips to their upperwings, but on the small white they are smaller, while on the green-veined they extend down the edge of the wing in a series of blobs. On the large white the tips also extend down the edge of the wing, but are black. The green-veined also has slightly more prominent veins on its upperwings. In both the large and small white the females have two black spots on their upperwings, while the male has only one or none. Female brimstones are white too, and can easily be mistaken for one of the white species when in flight, but they are more prone to stop and rest, and when they do, the green undersides and unusual shape of their wings is very distinctive.

Another over-wintering butterfly, the small tortoiseshell, has a second generation in June - or should do. This butterfly, which lays its eggs on stinging nettles, went into a severe decline in the south east from 2016 to 2019, and a study in the latter year suggested that the ones that emerge in June now go straight into winter hibernation to avoid a parasite that otherwise kills their caterpillars. In 2020 and 2022 they seemed to stage a bit of a recovery, being seen regularly throughout the month, while in 2021 quite a few were seen in the last week of June. But 2023 was another very poor year, with almost none seen. They have a habit of basking in the sun on tracks and footpaths, flying up as you approach. Once they are on the wing, they have a more purposeful flight than many other butterflies.

Similar at a casual glance to the small tortoiseshell, but much more colourful, is the painted lady. This lovely migrant comes all the way from Morocco, sometimes by way of intermediate generations in Spain or France, with the first wave arriving in May and breeding. The ones you see in June are probably survivors from this, but later in the month there may be more new arrivals. How many of these come depends on conditions further south: in some years there are huge numbers and in others relatively few or even none. In the south east the last really big incursion was in 2009, with a more modest one in 2019, even though other parts of the country saw much bigger numbers in that year. There were a few about in 2021, but very few in 2022 and almost none in 2020 or 2023 (in both those years the author only saw them once the whole year, in late July). Peak time for this butterfly is late July and August, when offspring from the earlier arrivals emerge. In general, painted ladies seem to be more common near the south coast, though they are found inland too.

Another migrant you may see is the red admiral, one of the most widely recognised butterflies, which can often be seen flitting around flowering bramble bushes. As with the painted lady, the ones you see in early June are probably part of the first wave of females, who in this case arrive already mated and ready to lay eggs from May onwards. But later in the month you may see new arrivals, which top up numbers over the summer months. These will include males who, like several other butterfly species, will patrol a territory: so if you are trying to photograph one and it flies off, it is worth waiting a few minutes to see if it comes back.

The first real sign that the summer butterflies are starting, however, is the appearance of the meadow brown, the most common summer butterfly of all, which feeds on grasses but can also be found flitting around flowering hedgerows. A few may be seen right from the start of the month, but they are more common from mid June, and by the end of the month can seem to be absolutely everywhere. The males of this species have brown upperwings with just a hint of orange, some appearing almost completely brown, while the females have more orange colour.

In flight they are easy to confuse with the ringlet and it can be frustrating waiting for an individual to land in order to make the identification definite. Ringlets appear from mid June onwards and are most often seen in grassland near wood edges or bramble hedges. When fresh, they are chocolate brown, slightly smaller than the meadow brown, with tiny rings on their upper and lower wings. But on the males these rings can be fainter or absent, while the orange patches and eyes in the top corner of the upperwings on the male meadow brown can also become quite faint. The underwings of either species are quite distinctive, however, the ringlet being brown with tiny rings and the meadow brown being a mix of brown and orange.

A butterfly which has a very similar underwing pattern to the meadow brown is the small heath. But these are very tiny butterflies, always found close to the ground in grassland. They have orange upperwings, which are visible when they are in flight, but they always rest with their wings closed. They are found throughout June, which is one of the peak months for them.

Don't automatically assume that a tiny orange butterfly in flight is a small heath, however, because another possibility is a large, small or essex skipper, which also have orange upperwings. The large skipper is the first to appear and may be seen right from the start of June. It often seen on hedgerows, on flowers such as bramble, with grassland nearby. The other two take flight from mid month, though may not be abundant until its end, and tend to be seen in tall grass. All three species have a whirring, moth-like flight and a very moth-like way of folding their wings.

Telling these three skippers apart takes really close examination. The large skipper (which is still very small) has darker patches on its upperwings, while those of the small and essex skipper are a more pure orange, though still with dark borders. These latter two species can only be told apart by the underside of the tips of their antennae, which are brown in the small skipper and black in the essex skipper. Even that does not quite do it, because some small skippers have black antenna ends with tiny brown tip: the essex skipper has lighter antennae which look as if they have been dipped in black ink at the tip, and which have faint rings around them.

All of this is hard to see even through close-focusing binoculars, never mind with the naked eye, and you often can only be sure which species you are looking at if you take a photograph and enlarge it. One more visible difference in males is that small skippers have a slightly curved dark line on their wings (a "sex brand") while on the essex skipper it is dead straight.

Just to make life extra interesting, the hills around Lulworth in Dorset have their very own species, the Lulworth skipper. There is a crescent-shaped marking on the wings of this butterfly, more prominent in the female than the male, and they are also a bit less orangey than small or Essex skippers: but usually their location gives you the identification. They can be found right from the start of June but are more abundant at its end.

It is also just possible you may see a dingy skipper or grizzled skipper in the first half of June, though May is the best time for them. Never easy to spot, these are tiny brown-patterned butterflies that are easy to mistake for day-flying moths (such as the burnet companion or mother shipton: see next section). Your best hope of seeing one is on chalk downland, though they can occur in other habitats.

Another tiny and very elusive butterfly of flowery hillsides, hedgerows and woodland rides is the small copper, which has bright orangey red upper wing markings. In theory these are seen more in the first half of June but they have a habit of turning up when you least expect them, so you may see them in the second half too. In the first half of the month you may just also see green hairstreak, perching on shrubs on the edge of downland.

Meadow browns, ringlets, skippers and small coppers are all butterflies you might see on chalk downland in June, and from mid month onwards this is also the place to see marbled whites, though they can appear in lowland grassy fields too. In favoured spots - try the top of the Box Hill zigzags or Fackenden Down near Otford - there can be very large numbers of this beautiful black and white butterfly. They particularly like knapweed and scabious flowers, and often take up position on a favoured bloom. Rather charmingly, they roost upside down on blade of grass or the stalk of a flower (see photo).

June is also the month to see the dark green fritillary, a magnificent orange butterfly with black markings (the dark green part refers to the underside of its lower wings, which are green with silver patches), which appears on downland around the middle of the month - for example on the Box Hill zigzags, Fetcham Down, Fackenden Down, Chapel or Hutchinson's Bank near New Addington, or on the South Downs. You would need to study carefully to spot the difference between them and the silver-washed fritillary mentioned below, but usually it is not necessary as they live in a quite different habitat, and the males have a fast and direct flight quite unlike the graceful glide of the silver-washed. Be careful, though, as if there is a woodland bordering the downland, a silver-washed fritillary might just emerge from it to feed on bramble. The dark-green fritillary may feed on bramble too, but favours knapweed and thistles, where it makes very quick pitstops.

Incidentally, if you see a fritillary-like butterfly with an eye in its wing corners, then it is a wall (once known as a wall brown, though they are in fact orange with dark brown markings). Not particularly common (and probably slightly more so when they have a second generation in later July and August), they are now extinct inland in the south east, but can nevertheless sometimes be seen near the south coast - for example on the clifftops near Dover or Kingsdown, on High & Over Hill near Seaford, at Anchor Bottom and Mill Hill Reserve near Shoreham-by-Sea, Swyre Head or Worbarrow Bay near Kimmeridge in Dorset, or on Portland Bill.

Mid May to mid June is also when the glanville fritillary can be found on downland and crumbling cliffs on the south coast of the Isle of Wight (for example, between St Catherine's Point and Freshwater Bay). Some were introduced to Hutchinson's Bank near Addiscombe on the southern edge of London in 2011, where they were still flourishing in 2023, spreading also to the nearby Chapel Bank.

One other rare fritillary on the wing this month, particularly in the first half, is the colourful marsh fritillary. They are no longer found in the south east, but can stray into the west of our region, for example into Wiltshire, or the Chilterns, where some have been seen in recent years at both Incombe Hole near Ivinghoe Beacon and Yoesden Reserve near Saunderton. A good place to see them within their normal range is Strawberry Banks near Stroud in Gloucestershire.

Downland is also a good place to see the tiny common blue, though it can also be seen on other kinds of grassland. Its population is higher at the start of the month than at the end, when a changeover of generations is taking place. The very much rarer adonis blue, found only on south-facing chalk downland with horseshoe vetch growing on it, is also a possibility early in the month - try the southern slopes of Ranmore Common near Dorking, or Anchor Bottom or Mill Hill Reserve near Shoreham-by-Sea. It is distinguishable from the common blue mainly by tiny lines crossing the white border to its wings, and by its darker brown underwing. Its upperwings are also lighter blue, though the common blue looks a fairly bright blue in flight too.

The female of both these species is brown, and with the common blue female having orange scallops on the edge of the upperwings. Just to make life confusing, this is also the description of the brown argus (both males and females), another grassland species found mainly earlier in June. Telling these butterflies apart is tricky. The male brown argus can be distinguished by its smaller size, though the female brown argus is larger, similar in size to the common blue female. Both sexes of brown argus have much neater oranger scallops on their upperwings, however, which extend all the way along the edge, while those on the female common blue fade away a bit towards the top of the forewing. In addition the brown argus has a slightly darker spot on each upper forewing, while the female common blue has a white area below the black spots underneath the scallops, and often has a blue blush on her body, sometimes extending to the wings (more rarely, the whole upperwing is flushed blue). Adonis blue females are altogether much drabber, with barely any scallops at all. Usually their upper wings are brown, but may occasionally be flushed with blue.

Very occasionally you may also see a holly blue in early June (all month in 2023, when they were very abundant), distinguished from the above two species by having light blue undersides to its wings, but more particularly because it flies at chest or head height around ivy or bramble bushes, as well as shrubs in suburban parks or gardens. Common blues are never found in this habitat, and always fly close to the ground. The holly blues you see this month are probably plucky survivors from the generation of this butterfly that appeared in late April or early May, though there is a second generation which appears from July onwards.

If you see a very very tiny brown butterfly in June but with a grey underside (which looks silvery in flight), then it could be the small blue, which peaks in population early in the month. But this is a very elusive butterfly only found on bare downland in a few locations (try Pewley Down near Guildford, Fackenden Down near Otford or Hutchinson's Bank near Addiscombe). Surprisingly often what you think might be a small blue turns out to be a brown argus male or a common blue female.

Another very localised blue species is the tiny silver-studded blue, which is found on heather. The Surrey heathlands (try Whitmoor and Fairmile Commons, or Hindhead Common near Haslemere) are one of the strongholds of these butterflies in the UK. Mid June to early July is the best time to see them.

Bigger than a common blue, but still fairly small, is the large blue, which is on the wing in the second half of June, and which has been reintroduced to some places in the Cotswolds - Daneways Bank near Stroud is a good site, and there are some on nearby Rodborough Common - and Somerset - for example Collard Hill and Green Banks south of Glastonbury. They use wild thyme both as food plants and for laying eggs.

In shady places the butterfly you are most likely to see is the speckled wood, which can be seen throughout the month, and has a gratifying habit of perching on leaves in sunny spots and so is very easy to identify. However, towards the end of the month you may see more elusive woodland species. One is the silver-washed fritillary - a large orange butterfly with black streaks which glides gracefully through glades and along open rides (grassy spaces between trees) in certain woodlands (try Bookham, Ashtead or Epsom Commons near Leatherhead, or Homefield Wood near Marlow) and also favours bramble flowers as a food plant. The males fly back and forward over the females, who are a more dowdy browny-orange and lack the wing streaks, making them almost look like a different species.

When looking out for silver-washed fritillaries make sure you are not seeing the comma butterfly, which can look quite similar to it in flight. Once it lands, (which it usually does after a short while), the comma is very different, however - with distinctive crinkly edges to its wings which make them look just like a dead leaf when closed (though in hotter summers a variation is produced which makes the underwing more orange). This is another over-wintering butterfly whose second generation starts to appear mid month. Its favoured habitat is hedgerows and scrub rather than woodland, but that means it can also be found in the woodland clearings and rides frequented by silver-washed fritillaries. Like the red admiral it has a tendency to patrol a territory and so will often return to the same leaf it was on when you disturbed it.

Another elusive woodland species (again try Bookham, Ashtead or Epsom Commons or Fetcham Down) is the white admiral, which comes out of the shade to feed briefly on bramble or to draw minerals from a patch of mud, and then disappears back in again. It is usually on the wing from mid June onwards. It is black and white, but has a wonderfully colourful underwing, if you get the chance to see it.

Even harder to see is the purple emperor, one of our largest butterflies but one which lives almost entirely in oak tree tops. Appearing in mid to late June, the males tend to cluster around certain "master trees", so if you want to see one it is useful to find out the location of one of these. Epsom Common, Bookham Common and the Knepp Wildlands near Horsham are all places you might see them. Individual males can sometimes be found on the ground gathering salts from paths or animal poo - usually early in the morning. If you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one close-up, the male has iridescent purple upperwing colourings, though only if seen in certain lights: otherwise it, and the rarely seen female, are dark brown with white markings and could possibly be confused with the somewhat smaller white admiral.

Another treetop specialist is the purple hairstreak. This is a relatively common butterfly that starts to appear in late June, but since they spend most of their time around the tops of oak trees, they are hard to spot. They may sometimes descend to lower perches, however (I have seen them resting on bramble and hazel leaves, or gathering minerals from the mud on paths). The underside of their wings are grey, with one orange eye spot, but unlike other hairstreaks they may rest with their wings open, sometimes showing wonderful purple markings but more often appearing a chocolate brown (again, it depends on the angle of the light).

There is also a white-letter hairstreak, which appears in mid June and which has brown upperwings (always closed when at rest) and white and orange highlights on its lighter brown underwings. Its caterpillars feed on elm leaves and so it was hard hit by Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s. Today it is said to be recovering, living on hedgerow elms and wych elm, but is another elusive tree top species. Your best hope of seeing it is when it comes down to feed on bramble or thistle flowers. Redhill Common, the former Chilworth Gunpowder Works, and Tooting Commons are supposed to be good sites.

Very similar looking, but with orange on the margins of its rarely seen upperwings, and likewise on its underwings, is the black hairstreak. It is mainly found in the Midlands, but there is an established colony in the south east on Ditchling Common, and some were found unexpectedly in the scrublands at the centre of Epsom Common in June 2020, where they were still to be seen in June 2023. The males fly around blackthorn bushes, but it can be quite frustrating waiting for them to land. Like the white-letter hairstreak, they always rest with their wings closed.

An equally rare woodland species is the very elusive wood white. Notably smaller than the commoner white species and with a rather feeble flight that makes it impossible to mistake, it is found only in certain pockets, one being near Sidmouth, East Devon and the other Oaken Wood, near Chiddingfold in Surrey (which has around a quarter of the UK population). Its spring generation appears in May but you might catch the tail end of it in early June. Woodland rides are its favoured habitat.

In coppiced areas in East Blean Woods between Canterbury and Herne Bay, as well as in Hockley Wood in Essex, you can also see heath fritillaries in June, one of the only places in the country they are found. In the right locations, there can be dozens and dozens of these butterflies, the males frenetically flying around and competing for females.

Day-flying moths

There are nearly 2500 species of moth in the UK (as opposed to just 64 species of butterfly), 900 of which are of a size large enough to be noticed by the casual walker. Most of them fly at night, but there are quite a few which fly by day and some you might confuse at a casual glance for a small butterfly. Something that marks many of them out from butterflies, however, is at tendency to head straight for cover when disturbed, whereas butterflies evade unwanted attentions through their erratic flight.

The easiest ones to spot are those that are poisonous to predators, and so have big bold colours and no need to conceal themselves. One of the most obvious in June is the cinnabar moth, which has black and red stripes and appears as a whirring mass of red in flight. They are mainly night-flying, though sometimes seen by day, laying their eggs on young ragwort plants. Here their black and orange-striped (but surprisingly well camouflaged) caterpillars are quite commonly seen later in the summer.

Similar in appearance in flight to the cinnabar is the five-spot burnet, which is black with red spots, and which might just survive into the early part of the month. Later in the month, when knapweed comes into flower, you can start to see six-spot burnets, which are on the wing for the rest of the summer. Another very striking black and red moth that is possible this month is the scarlet tiger, though it does not often seem to be seen these days.

In grassland you may see the burnet companion (totally unrelated to the five- and six-spots) and the mother shipton, both of which are brown with striped markings, those on the mother shipton supposedly resembling a witch's face. Both can also be confused in flight with a dingy skipper butterfly. In the same habitat look out also for the latticed heath and common heath, and - much more rarely, in ancient meadows with pignut - the chimney sweeper, which looks like a tiny black butterfly.

On downland (and sometimes other habitats) there are also influxes of the whirring grey silver Y some years: it is a migrant from North Africa when can fly 800 kilometres in a single night by catching high altitude winds. Another very striking migrant is the hummingbird hawkmoth, which does indeed look like a hummingbird as it feeds on flowers with its long proboscis. Its numbers vary, but 2022 seemed to be an excellent year for them.

Other day-flying moths you might see in June include the speckled yellow, a moth which looks and behaves very like a butterfly, flitting over shrubs. The yellow shell is a much more shy species of the same colour, while in coastal areas you may see a yellow belle. Sticking in the same part of the colour pallet, the clouded buff is yellow with red spots and borders, and found in rough grassland. Among bracken you may spot the brown silver-line.

There are also a number of white moths that you may disturb as you walk past, including the common carpet, the silver-ground carpet, the grass rivulet and the delicate white lace border, a night flying moth sometimes seen by day, and found only on the Kent and Surrey North Downs.

At an even smaller scale there are micro moths, most of which are too small to identify. But notice the very common grass moths, tiny white moths whose wings snap shut to make them almost invisible when they land on blades of grass. You also might be able to identify the miniscule small yellow underwing, which has two yellow patches on its lower set of wings and likes flowery meadows, or the tiny straw dot, which is beige with a small black rectangle on each wing and lives in damp meadows and woodland.

As in May, you can sometimes come across the rather alarming looking caterpillar webs of moths, created to protect their larvae from predation. Two examples I have seen this month include the spindle ermine, which spreads a big web across the top of the shrub of that name, and the small eggar, which creates a white web bag, on the surface of which its brown caterpillars congregate. At this time of year you can also come across web-covered clusters of oak processionary moths on oak trees. They are an invasive pest and the hairs of the caterpillars are a dangerous irritant and can even cause breathing difficulties, so keep well clear of them.

To identify other day-flying moths, see the Butterfly Conservation website.


June is a month that is full of weird and wonderful insects. Bees of all kinds are common - honeybees, worker bumble bees (the queens now being ensconced in the nest, producing young: this is the peak time for bumble bee workers) and solitary bees, of which there are more than 250 species in the UK. Bramble flowers are an excellent place to see all of these, the air around them filled with a lovely bee hum.

This is another month when you may see a honeybee swarm, in which the colony splits and part of it flies off to find a new home. (This is how honeybees spread and reproduce.) While they are searching for a new nest site, they congregate in immense numbers around trees or even a fence post. It is a scary sight, but they are not aggressive in this state unless you do something to alarm them.

A surprising number of bees you see turn out to be hoverflies; they have evolved to look this way to evade predators. There are myriad different types of varying sizes and this is a good month to see them. Telling them apart from bees can be difficult, but bees do not hover and hoverflies do not hum. One surprising place to see hoverflies is in shade, where, backlit by a sunbeam, they seem suspended in the air.

If you look closely at other plants, all sorts of tiny wonders become apparent. Dock bugs, hairy shield (aka sloe) bugs and green shield bugs may last into the early part of the month on shrubs, though most have mated and died off in May. In rough grassland in the first half you can sometimes see soldier beetles (orange bodies and heads, but black wings), and right at its end you may see the similar, but all orange, common red soldier beetle, known as the "hogweed bonking beetle" because it likes to mate on the flowers of that plant. Rarely you may also see much larger yellow spotted longhorn beetles mating at the end of the month on the same plant.

A small thin green beetle found on flowers throughout June is the aptly named swollen-thighed beetle (though only the males have the swollen-thighs): they seem particularly fond of yellow hawkbit flowers, though can be found on other blooms. This is also another month when you can see the large iridescent green rose chafer, which seems to like umbellifer-like flowers as well as roses. At a much tinier scale there are iridescent green, gold or black leaf beetles on hawkbit or buttercup flowers.

You can also see various types of ladybird. Some years back, lots of these seemed to be the invasive harlequin ladybird, which has many guises, and which breeds all summer, supposedly giving it an advantage over native ladybirds. This lead to a panic that they might replace the classic British seven-spot ladybird, which breeds only once a year in May (or sometimes in June), and then produces young which become adults at the end of the summer. However since 2020 harlequins seem to be much less common, and in 2023 I saw only one all summer, so perhaps their invasion is fading.

June is also another month when house flies (aka bluebottles) are irritating - flying into your house and buzzing around your kitchen. Sometimes when out walking you encounter annoying face flies that do just what their name suggests and try to land on the sweat on your face or neck. You may see the occasional, rather alarming-looking scorpion fly on vegetation. Especially at dusk, in shady spots or flying low over ponds and rivers, the air can be full of midges and swarming insects. In general there is a whole world of tiny flying creatures that we are generally barely aware of, except when they bite our arms and legs.

Early in the month - possibly also later - you can still see dancing clouds of mayflies at dusk near a river, particularly chalk streams: they live just one or two nights, mating and dying in that time, a ritual that dates back to before the age of the dinosaurs (see May butterflies and insects for a longer description). The three long tassels of their tail and the stripes on their bodies are a good clue to identification.

Also by water you can see the amazing banded demoiselle with its black-patched wings which create a hypnotic effect in flight. In favoured places by streams and rivers there can be quite large concentrations of these, with the metallic blue males (the females are green tinged with bronze) jockeying for position on fronds overlooking the water. Seen less often, and further away from water, is the beautiful demoiselle, whose males have more solid black wings, with the females having brown wings.

Damselflies can also be found much further away from water, sometimes mating on bushes, a painful-looking procedure that involves the male and female grasping each other by the tail. By far the most common species here is the common blue damselfly, which in flight is a tiny hovering stick. (It is the male which is blue, while the female can be green, blue, black and white, or straw-coloured: sometimes newly emerged males with black and beige markings can be seen.)

The azure damselfly looks very similar to the common blue, which makes it hard to tell how common it is, but the blue-tailed damselfly is easier to identify and so noticed a bit more often. Other damselflies include the striking large red, the green emerald and the red-eyed damselfly. Also the white-legged damselfly, whose mature males are a pale blue but which often seems to get noticed in its white immature or female forms.

Dragonflies - some of them very large - hunt for smaller insects near ponds and further afield, and include the magnificent blue and green emperor, the broad-bodied chaser with its chunky blue abdomen, and the black-tailed skimmer which is found near lakes and gravel pits. The female broad-bodied chaser is also not hard to see - a magnificent creature, with an alluring glossy brown sheen. The black-tailed skimmer female is yellow and you might think it was a totally different species. Female emperor dragonflies are all green, lacking the blue of the male, and are rather elusive.

The scarce chaser dragonfly, which looks similar to the black-tailed skimmer, is a rarer species than all the others already mentioned, but is getting more common, apparently. It emerges at the end of May, so June is a good month to see it. Later in the month you start to see the much smaller red common or ruddy darter dragonflies.

With all dragonflies, the problem when identifying them is that you need to catch them at rest to do so. They tend to patrol a particular area for a good long time, darting upwards from time to time to catch insects invisible to us. But every now and again they do alight on a stalk or a leaf, enabling an identification to be made.

On still water you can see pondskaters. In grassland June is the month that adult grasshoppers and crickets emerge, mostly noticed when they jump away from your feet as you walk. Crane flies in the same habitat seem to be between generations - after quite a lot in May, there are only occasional ones in June, if any. Cuckoo spit - actually a foam produced by the larvae of the froghopper (because it makes big jumps: another name, not surprisingly, is the spittlebug) - is still very common on plants at the start of the month and may be seen in places until the third week.

More June pages:

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