May is for many the most glorious month in the British countryside. Majestic oak trees are now in full leaf, the hawthorn is a riot of blossom (inspiring the "darling buds of May" of Shakespeare's sonnet), and cow parsley flowers in hedgerows and meadows. Many butterflies and dragonflies are on the wing, mayflies live their brief day of adult life and the maybug or cockchafer is also on the wing at dusk. This year the bluebells have been spectacular in May after a very cool April held them back. Birds - including the nightingale - are in full song, displaying and feeding young. Wood warblers and pied flycatchers can be seen in upland oakwoods, waders and grouse are breeding on moorlands, and seabird colonies are at their busiest, with huge numbers of terns, gulls, gannets and auks flying to and from their nests. Roe deer fawns are born during this month, while foxes are feeding their cubs on the healthy populations of young rabbits. Dolphins may be seen frolicking in the surf of the Moray Firth and Cardigan Bay, while cuttlefish lay their eggs in the warm waters along the English Channel.
Ross Hoddinott / RF- Backlit Fern (Philotum) growing among bluebells (Endymion nonscriptus). Lanhydrock, Cornwall, UK. May. (This image may be licensed either as rights managed or royalty free.)
Peter Cairns / Badger (Meles meles) foraging in bark. Scotland, May.
Nick Turner / A couple relaxing amongst bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) in springtime woodland, Upper Soudley, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, May.
Andy Rouse / European Badger (Meles meles) in bluebells. UK, Europe, May.
Ross Hoddinott / RF- Bluebell carpet (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) among beech trees (Fagus sylvatica). West Woods, near Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK. May. (This image may be licensed either as rights managed or royalty f...
Laurie Campbell / Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) flowering in oakwood, Perthshire, Scotland, UK, May
Laurie Campbell / Bluebells (Endymion non-scriptus) flowering, Perthshire, Scotland, May
Ross Hoddinott / Green-veined white butterfly (Artogeia / Pieris napi) with wings closed, resting on bluebell. Lanhydrock, Cornwall, UK, May
Laurie Campbell / Orange tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) resting on bramble leaf, Ross-shire, Scotland, May
Adrian Davies / Mayfly (Ephemera danica). Cast case of subimago, or dun. Surrey, England, May.
Ross Hoddinott / Broad-bodied chaser dragonfly (Libellula depressa) male resting on reeds Cornwall, UK, May
Kim Taylor / Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages) on Cowslip (Primula veris) in flower. Surrey, UK, May.
Andy Rouse / Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) male displaying at a lek. UK, Europe, May.
Ernie Janes / Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) male preening, UK, May
Ernie Janes / Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) male bathing, UK, May
Andrew Parkinson / Puffins (Fratercula arctica) pair take off together to go fishing. Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK, May.
Andrew Parkinson / Puffin (Fratercula arctica) looking above grass bank. Skomer Island, Wales, UK, May.
Andy Sands / Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) pair mating. Hertfordshire, England, May.
Andy Sands / Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima) male bathing in pool, Lincolnshire, UK, May
Andrew Parkinson / Sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) singing portrait, Saltee Islands, Republic of Ireland, May.
Ernie Janes / Yellowhammer (Emberiza citinella) male in flight, Norfolk, UK, May
Laurie Campbell / Sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) male singing in willow tree, Roxburghshire, Scotland, May
Andy Rouse / Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata) male singing. Wales, May. Not available for ringtone/wallpaper use.
Laurie Campbell / Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) perched on top of hawthorn hedge, Berwickshire, Scotland, May
Fergus Gill / Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) feeding in a garden. Perthshire, Scotland, May .
Chris Gomersall / 2020VISION / Common nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) adult perched, singing, Cambridgeshire, UK, April. Photographer quote: 'Nightingales are more renowned for the beauty of their song than their looks. You are...
Mark Hamblin / 2020VISION / Adult female Eurasian dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) raising wings in breeding habitat on upland plateau of Grampian mountains, Cairngorms NP, Scotland, UK, May 2011
Ernie Janes / Avocet (Recurvirostra avocetta) in flight over reedbed. Norfolk, UK, May.
Colin Varndell / Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) perched on branch stretching wing, Dorset, UK, May.
Mark Hamblin / 2020VISION / Greylag goose (Anser anser) adult landing on water, Scotland, UK, May 2010
Terry Whittaker / 2020VISION / Reedbeds at dawn with Coot (Fulica atra) in mist, Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve, Suffolk, UK, May. 2020VISION Book Plate.
Ross Hoddinott / Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) vixen walking in the morning light (captive). Lifton, Devon, UK, May
Andrew Parkinson / 2020VISION / European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) adult stretching on fringes of a field of rapeseed. Hope Farm RSPB reserve, Cambridgeshire, UK, May, sequence 4/4. Did you know? Brown hares are not native to Bri...
Ernie Janes / Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) cub amongst Buttercups (Ranunculus sp) UK, May. Captive
Laurie Campbell / Juveniles European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Midlothian, Scotland, May
Ross Hoddinott / Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) vixen, portrait in the morning light (captive). Lifton, Devon, UK, May
Mark Hamblin / 2020VISION / Brown hare (Lepus europaeus) in an arable field, Scotland, UK, May 2010. Did you know? The European brown hare is the fastest land mammal in the UK.
Bertie Gregory / 2020VISION / Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) buck jumping high through field of wheat (Triticum sp.) at sunset, Berkshire, England, UK, May
Laurie Campbell / Semi habituated female Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia) lying on favourite scatching log, living wild in native oakwood,~Lochaber, Scotland, May
Simon Colmer / Dove's-foot Crane's-bill (Geranium molle) in flower. Sussex, UK, May.
Laurie Campbell / Common dog violet (Viola riviniana) flowers, Argyll, Scotland, May