After the flurry of activity that comes with spring, summer sees a bit of a lull when it comes to bird activity. There's not much migration to speak of, since everything that's going to come back has come back, and won't leave until autumn. What's more, with the nesting season over, we'll see fewer birds in the garden. After all, with fields of flourishing crops to feat on, a bird table probably isn't going to compete!
It's also worth mentioning is that this is the last month where you can really enjoy the dawn chorus. Birds sing for two reasons: to attract a mate, or to stake out their territory. After June, there's not much need for either of those. Even species which raise multiple broods will be done with nesting after this month. As such, you'll probably find that you hear less birdsong from July onwards- so enjoy it while it lasts!
Because of all this, there aren't that many common and garden species for us to highlight this month. If you're looking to make the most of the nicer weather while indulging in a spot of birdwatching, it's a great time of year to head down to your nearest nature reserve. However, there are a couple of species that you might want to keep an eye out for this month.
Sanderlings are really winter birds, at least in the UK. They migrate to the arctic to breed in summer, before returning to our shores to see out the colder half of the year. However, any adults which fail to find a mate by June will head back early. As with many species, they have a markedly different plumage in the mating season. They're normally pale grey and white, but these early returners will be much more colourful. As you can see in the photo below, they have a orangey-brown tint,
Normally, sanderlings are only found around beaches, where they can often be spotted making their distinctive dash away from incoming waves. That's still the case with these early returners. However, it's not unheard of to spot summer sanderlings around water a little bit further inland- so it's worth keeping an eye out should you find yourself in any marshy areas.
Once upon a time, the corn bunting was a common sight across farmland across the country. However, their numbers have shrunk massively in recent years, to the point where they have been placed on the RSPB's red list of endangered species. Now, they are only to be found in certain areas of England, but in summer that are more easily spotted in open farmland, often found perched on fences or telephone wires.