Summer is generally the season to let wildlife habitats do their thing and enjoy seeing the wildlife that makes use of them. Does your farm have flower-rich habitats every month through the summer? Do any of your wet habitats hold water throughout the drier summer months? Below are some top tips for helping and enjoying wildlife over the next three months:

  • It is important to hold off from any hedgerow cutting until after 1st September to protect late nests of species such as Yellowhammer and Turtle Dove. See more here 

Video: Adult male Yellowhammer collecting insect food for young, perched in a hedgerow and foraging on the ground (c) RSPB (

  • Avoid mowing field margins and buffer strips in the summer months to protect wildlife during the breeding season and leave any flower-rich habitats to support vital pollinators. In years of establishment regular mowing will deter nesting birds whilst also controlling weeds to allow the perennial plants to establish
  • Have you got any rush-infested pastures? These wet grasslands might be important for breeding waders such as Lapwings and Curlews, but rush infestation can be bad for them and productivity. Topping and aftermath grazing from August onwards, after the wader nesting season is one potential solution. See more here

Adult Lapwing sitting on grassland with chick (c) Amy Millard (

  • Does your farm have areas of flower-rich habitat every month through the summer? If there are periods when flowers are in short supply, it will be challenging for pollinators to complete their lifecycle. Talk to your seed merchant about adjusting wildflower seed mixtures to include species that will fill the gaps in flowering times or look for opportunities for wildflowers to thrive
  • Are your ponds and ditches holding less water through the summer as the climate is getting hotter and drier? Plan work in the autumn to provide deeper areas in watercourses and waterbodies whilst retaining the shallow edges that make them accessible to more wildlife. Check with your Statutory Agency before bunding or reprofiling watercourses.
  • If you are mowing any flower-rich meadows in late summer when the flowers are in seed, is there scope to use some of the green hay to expand or create new areas of flower-rich habitat on the farm. See more here on this technique
  • Plan where you can leave overwintered stubbles for seed-eating birds and avoid use of pre-harvest desiccants on these crops: the green cover that generates after harvest will help protect the soil, trap residual nutrients and provide more winter seed food. See more here.

Image: Common linnets flying over stubble on an Aberdeenshire farm in March, making use of the winter seed food (c) Ian Francis ( 

Many conservation management tasks in the autumn require some planning:

  • Do any areas of your woodlands need opening up through coppicing this winter. See more here
  • Are you able to enhance or create new farm ponds this winter. See more here
  • Talk to your seed merchant about selecting the right flower mixtures for your soils for establishment this autumn to boost pollination and natural pest control

Get along to farming events such as Groundswell or Go Falkland to learn from and share ideas with farmers practicing regenerative farming techniques.

If you have any free time on a warm, sunny, still day in the summer, take a walk around your most flower-rich habitats and enjoy the colour and buzz of the insect life making the most of it. You consider also taking part in the Big Butterfly Count in late July/early August.