Garden Bioblitz and #30DaysWild

Hi all,

As many of you know, June is the month in which The Wildlife Trust start #30DaysWild, it’s an amazing challenge for you and your loved ones to get out and about enjoying our wildlife and environment. More info here ( http://action.wildlifetrusts.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1823&ea.campaign.id=48499 )

We have been doing the challenge since Day 1, in fact we started a tad early and had a nice trip to a local meadow, walking and relaxing a few days before.

IMG_9873

Day 1 – My wife and her friends went to a local park, bug hunting and tree climbing whilst I did some bug hunting.

IMG_0328

This is one from Day 1, even made its way onto the BBC Springwatch website.

Day 2 – We had a nice walk to another local meadow which we have never visited at this time of the year.

Day 3 – We set the moth trap up in the evening

image2 (2)

Day 4 – We checked the Moth Trap this morning and ID’d the species and then we took part in the Garden Bioblitz which is happening today and tomorrow. More info here ( http://www.gardenbioblitz.org/ )

image1 (1)

The girls getting ready to record the species in the Bioblitz.

We love the Garden Bioblitz, such a fun way of introducing the kids to the wildlife in your garden, and at the same time recording and discovering beautiful creatures! The first thing we discovered, after moving some rocks was this Red Ant nest, the girls were amazed!

image4

After admiring the hard working Ants for a few minutes we began to dig deeper into the garden and collect our specimens to be ID’d later. We hung an old shower curtain up, and with the help of the kids we shook the bushes and trees hoping whatever fell would land on our sheet. We actually got this Idea from watching BBC Springwatch, although they used and umbrella 🙂

image5

shaking the bushes

image3

Amber inspecting with a pot ready to capture whatever scuttles out.

image8 (1)

Our nephew Noah getting involved….Not sure what’s going on with Amber and Jasmine’s poses though 🙂 🙂 🙂

After a 2 hour period we began to list and ID all species we found and have some lunch.

 

In total we found :

  • Greenfly x a gazzilion
  • White lipped Snail x 3
  • Common Garden Slug x 5
  • Southern Garden Slug x 1
  • Red Ants and Larvae x way too many to count
  • Garden Snail x 10
  • Common Garden Frog x 1
  • Common rough woodlouse x 35
  • Female wolf spider and egg sack (Pardosa Sp.) x 5
  • Red Velvet Mite x 7
  • Male Wolf spider (Pardosa Sp) x 15
  • Common Garden spider x 10
  • White tailed Bumblebee x 1
  • Black Ant x 1
  • White legged Millipede x 2
  • Brown lipped Snail x 2
  • Earwig x 1
  • Small White Caterpillar x 1
  • Female Zebra Jumping Spider x 7
  • Male Zebra Jumping Spider x 5
  • Micro Moths (Various) x 3
  • Cadisfly x 15
  • Common shiny woodlouse x 19
  • Blue Bottle x 8
  • Common Green Capsid x 5
  • Harvestman
  • Sac Spider x 6
  • Meadow Brown Caterpillar x 1
  • Weevil ( possible Polydrusus tereticollis) x 1
  • Running Crab Spider x 8
  • Skipper caterpillar x 1
  • Earthworms x 10
  • Owl Midge x way too many to count
  • Hoverfly
  • Female Hairy Footed Bee
  • Sawfly Larvae
  • Small White Butterfly
  • Large White Butterfly
  • Common Wasp
  • Lacewing
  • Large dragonfly
  • Horsefly
  • Springtails
  • Fruitfly
  • Yellow Slug
  • Blackbird
  • Sparrow
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Robin
  • Magpie

Some list that for 2 hours in a small garden!!!

Of course, I had to get a photo of those Ants with my Macro Gear!

Bring on the rest of the Month 🙂

Matt

IMG_0690IMG_0667

 

Advertisements

#30DaysWild – Days 9-12

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been working the night shift this week so I haven’t had much time at all to do anything or get out with the kids.

Here is a quick recap of what we got upto.

Day 9.

We decided to stay at home and refill, wash and fill the the bird feeders and table.

Day 10.

For day 10 we decided to plant some herbs in our garden. Jasmine and Amber seemed more interested in eating them than planting them. lol!

image1(4) image2(5)

Day 11.

We left the car at home again and decided to walk home from school, 2.2 miles to be precise. For me it was tiring as I’m used to my car, for the girls and my wife it was a breeze as they do this everyday whilst I’m at work.

On the way past one of the local parks the girls decided to try some balancing on the large rocks.

IMG_2146 IMG_2150

Day 12.

This morning when I arrived home from work at 6am I decided to pop into the garden to see what I could find. I was shocked and excited to find this Red Damselfly on one of the strawberry plants. I’ve never had one of these in the garden!! Due to the fact it was so early in the morning, this beauty hadn’t fully warmed up, meaning I could get a decent picture. I eventually left it alone to wake up, and I went to bed.

I can only assume that someone has a rather large pond near my house, either way I was glad for the visit.

IMG_8899

Hopefully I will get out and about more this weekend. How are you getting on with your #30DaysWild?

Thanks for reading

Matt

#30DaysWild – Day 8 Left the car at home

Hi Everyone,

So it’s Day 8 of #30DaysWild and today I tried something different, and it’s something we should I do once in a while, I left the car at home.

Normally I will pick my wife up from work in the car, but today I decided against it, and walked instead.

At first I thought about taking my camera, but I didn’t want to be bogged down with it, plus I would have been more concerned with getting an actual photo for the blog rather than enjoying everything around me, I didn’t even get my phone out to take a snap, instead I just walked, with my senses tuned into THE WILD.

As I walked, I went past the freshly cut fields, I could see birds foraging for worms, a light breeze was cutting through the trees, making that soft rustling sound, not too loud to drown out the sound of the bird song, just enough to accompany it.

As I ventured on further, I was met by explosions of colour and fragrance from each garden I would pass. The Erumpant Rose buds starting to show what they have been hiding away for the past few months, flowers blooming everywhere, reds, purples, yellows and greens, the gardens were alive!

One garden in particular was full of Bees, these pollinating machines were popping their heads in and out of flowers, on a mission to gather as much pollen as possible it seemed. In others there were Butterflies, sunning themselves and feeding on Lavender. I saw 10 species of Birds, 3 species of Bee, 4 species of Butterfly, and countless other Insects, all in the space of a 30 minute walk.

All of this I would have missed if I had taken the car, not only that, I was getting myself and the environment a tad healthier by walking and leaving the car at home.

Why don’t you leave the car and cameras at home for one day during the challenge. It will be worth it.

Matt

#30DaysWild – Day 7, Foraging, Spiders and Honey!

Hi everyone,

We’ve had some great weather here today, have you had the same?

We started the day off having a quick look in the garden for bugs. We found this very shy spider, Pisaura mirabilis,  under some bark in the flower beds. I love the face of this spider, it looks like it has tribal war paint down each side, a beautiful spider. Here it has its legs pulled in, a typical defensive position, I adopt a similar position when someone rolls me out of bed.

IMG_8703

Then we headed over to the fair and dog show on the common near our house. We purchased some Honey from the local Bee Keeper and I was amazed at the taste. We had a great chat about all Bees and conservation.

image1(3)

Jasmine also decided she wanted to climb some trees.

image1(2)

and try the idea from Day 1 which was hug a tree!

image2(4)

After a few hours of fun we headed to our local farm. Inside one of the greenhouses they had old birds nests in a crate for everyone to look at, the kids were impressed.

IMG_8757

We also foraged for Strawberries and Gooseberries, it’s a bit early for anything else. Whilst we ventured the grounds we spotted lots of wildlife, Rabbits, kestrels, Buzzards, Butterflies, the list was endless. We also found lots of herbs and wildflowers. The girls are really in their element outdoors, in touch with the wild. So inquisitive, adventurous and happy! It’s the best way to be.

IMG_8725 IMG_8735  IMG_8756

Not sure what we will get upto this week as work will get in the way, but we will certainly try and do something each day.

Matt

IMG_8728

#30DaysWild – Day 3 #WhatsInYourGarden

Hi everyone,

Let’s just take a second to welcome back Mr Sun, Today was glorious! As I drove to work at 5am this morning the sun had just risen, some light mist on the fields, the roads were clear and the only sound you could hear was the dawn chorus of the birds…..Stunning.

The day got better, I was promoted at work 🙂 Wahoo! The elation was short lived however, after arriving home and discovering we had a leak from the bathroom. The kitchen was flooded! Disaster! It completely put a spanner in the works for our Day 3.

So, after the plumber had been it didn’t leave us much time to get out and into the WILD.

I do another blog called #WhatsInYourGarden on a Wednesday or Thursday so I decided to merge the two blogs for Day 3 of #30DaysWild.

So #WhatsInYourGarden……….Red Ants….Quick RUUUUUUUN!

SONY DSC

Well that’s the 1st thing most people do, these Ants have a bad name. Why? Because they pack a painful sting! Only if they feel threatened or you disturb a nest though.

One of the most common Ant species we get in the garden, The Red Ant, Myrmica rubra, is around 4-5mm big. It favours garden soil and lawns but will form colonies under stones and rotting wood.

For me, Ants are without doubt the best insect to watch in your garden. Just spend 10 minutes each day in a different section of your garden and you are guaranteed to see an Ant carrying out its particular job.

One may be carrying a diseased or dead Ant away from the colony.

SONY DSC

 

One may be bringing back supplies.

IMG_8402

However ambitious.

DSC08523

You may find some grazing on near by plants.

IMG_8482

and if you’re really lucky, one surfing 😉

SONY DSC

They truly are fascinating to watch, but don’t take my word for it, watch this video I filmed today of two Ants dissecting a small fly, using those powerful mandibles to rip off its wings. Sorry about the background music.

 

Enjoy

Matt

30 Days Of Wild – How wild can you get?

Hi Everyone,

So, who is joining in with the Wildlife Trust new challenge? It’s called 30 Days Of Wild, and it couldn’t be easier to take part, do something wild everyday for the month of June. How wild you get is up to you, were not on about big parties or underground raves (those days are long gone), it’s about making room for nature no matter where you are or how busy your life! Make this the month when you do something wild every day!!! This is about breaking out from the normality of day to day life and making a connection with the natural world, who knows, maybe it will inspire you.

DSC07414 book

You can upload your pictures, stories and videos to facebook and twitter, along with the hashtag #30DaysWild.

So today the weather was wet and miserable, the heat wave we are expecting must be stuck in traffic, no bother though as it still doesn’t stop you from doing something wild. You could run outside right now, bare footed in your garden wearing nothing but a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and embrace the beating rain and howling winds………Too Wild? Maybe.

DSC07456 bookDSC07464 book

Alternatively you could look for some slugs and snails and see how many species you can find, that’s what my family did today for Day 1. Simple.

So what are you waiting for, get WILD!!!!

Matt