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is the month when many young creatures get to grips with the big wide world. Inexperienced young birds are about, initially fed by their parents but before long having to get by on their own. How long this takes varies from species to species: wrens and blackbirds feed their fledglings for a couple of weeks, but young starlings start feeding themselves when only a few days out of the nest.

Young birds have a fluffy, unfinished look and in some species their plumage differs from their parents. Young starlings, for example, are brown and young robins start with a brown spotted breast.

Young birds are particularly at risk in the first day or two after leaving the nest, both from cats and from avian predators such as sparrowhawks (which are collecting food for their own young, of course). If you see fledgings in your garden and you have a cat, keep it in for a while to give them a better chance.

In the insect world it is peak time for damselflies and many other insects. Swallows and house martins take advantage, hawking around picking insect food out of the air.

Many butterflies and moths are on the wing, some of which – like speckled woods – are already into their second brood of their year. For a good display of butterflies, visit Langdon, Danbury Ridge or Maldon Wick on a sunny day. One of Britain's rarest butterflies, the heath fritillary, can be seen from mid-month on at Hockley Woods, Hadleigh Great Wood in Belfairs Park or Pound Wood. Some moths fly by day like butterflies: in rough grasslands look out for cinnabar moths and, on ragwort plants, their orange-and-black caterpillars.

As the month advances more and more meadow plants come into flower: visit Bedfords Park, Hunsdon Mead or Roding Valley Meadows before the hay is cut to see wildflower meadows at their best.

Photo © David Harrison

On coastal sandbanks common seal are giving birth to their pups. The main breeding sites are in Hamford Water and off Foulness, but seals sometimes venture upriver and can often be seen from the hides at Fingringhoe Wick.

On estuaries, reservoirs and rivers, ducks are about with their young in tow – Hanningfield and Abberton Reservoirs are good places to see them.