Ah, August is here. It is the summer holiday period, with city dwellers fleeing to camping sites, beaches and foreign destinations. The city even feels quiet and calm. However, one doesn’t have to go far to enjoy the summertime wonders of nature. You can do it right here in the city.
Unlike my home country, Portugal – where the landscape is scorched dry during almost all summer – here in the Netherlands there is lush green vegetation almost everywhere we look. Nature is at its best. Many colourful wildflowers can still be seen, especially around rivers and ponds. Looking closely at the vegetation, we can see it’s full of beautiful insects and other tiny creatures: stripped flower flies, shiny beetles, hopping grasshoppers, noisy bumblebees and delicate butterflies. It’s a wonderful miniature world to uncover!
Baby birds that hatched in spring are now fully grown and are now learning how to fly, feed and fend for themselves. Due to these mild and wet summer days, there are even some mushrooms sprouting from the ground, under the low tree canopies or in shaded corners.
The perfect soundtrack
The soothing sound of the cicadas among the meadows and the croaking call of the green frogs are the natural soundtracks of the season. At dusk, it’s time for the loud piercing shriek of the swifts, flying in groups on the hunt for insects. They are just about to leave for their yearly migration to sub-Saharan Africa, where they will spend Autumn and Winter. Swifts are superb flyers, spending most of their lives in the air. They only perch to enter their nest, in a hole or crevice of a tall building or roof. (By the way, did you know the renewed building of the City Hall has several nest boxes for swifts?)
August is also the best period to visit the heathlands (heide) of the Netherlands: the fields of heather are flowering and these short shrubs paint the landscape purple and pink! We are lucky we have our “own” heathland patch – the Stratumse Heide. On the other side of the A67, the Groote Heide starts, stretching then all the way to Belgium, with a good network of cycling and hiking paths.
As you can see, there is lots of wild urban nature to explore during the summer. So, let’s get outside!
For Eindhoven News: Nuno Curado
A wildlife ecologist fascinated with urban nature: the wild animals and plants that live with us in the cities! He is the person behind Wild Eindhoven: a one-person company on a mission to help everyone discover and enjoy nature in the city, from urban parks to our home balconies!