Hedgehog courtship

If you hear noisy snuffling and rustling in your back garden at this time of year you could be listening to the rather loud courtship of the hedgehog. The male will make circles around the female in attempt to mate, whilst she is usually more interested in finding food.

If you see a please mark it on our online map. We need to know if you've seen a live or dead hedgehog, have not seen a hedgehog where you live for at least two years or have never seen hedgehogs where you live. Please tell your friends, family and neighbours about the survey too.

Find out more ways you can help hedgehogs...

Swifts return

You know summer is on it's way when soaring swifts return to our skies after their long journey from Africa. You may also see simiarly shaped swallows, house and sand martins. Use this guide to tell them apart:

Swift

  • Pale brown all over with white throat that may not be visible when in flight
  • Short forked tail
  • Fast soaring flight and loud screaming call
  • Never lands except when nesting in crevices of old buildings

Swallow

  • White underneath white rust coloured chin patch
  • Shiny black head and throat
  • Long forked tail
  • Fast swooping flight
  • Often lands on wires

House martin

  • All white underneath with shiny black head cap
  • Short forked tail
  • Fluttery flight
  • Often lands on wires

Sand martin

  • Brown breast band on white underparts
  • Short forked tail
  • Nest in sandy banks and quarries
  • Often lands on wires

Dragonflies and damselflies emerge

If we have a warm May, the first damselflies and dragonflies will start to emerge and you will see them buzzing about. Use this spotter sheet to identify varieties found in Suffolk:


 

Hobbies hunting and bitterns booming

Reedbeds are a good place to look out for hunting hobbies. Once the weather is warm enough for dragonflies and damselflies to emerge, you may well see the hobby overhead hunting them. Agile flyers, the hobby has a dark, slate grey top, black moustache, white cheeks and gingery feathered 'trousers'!

Another reedbed inhabitant, the amazingly camouflaged bittern may also be lurking, feeding on eels. Come spring the male bittern will suddenly make itself known with an extremely loud 'boom'. Bitterns use the muscles around their oesophagus to boom, expanding their throat into a large echo chamber. The booms sound similar to someone blowing over the top of a bottle, only much louder!