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.

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

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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

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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/ )

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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!

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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 🙂

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shaking the bushes

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

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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

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#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.

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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.

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Jasmine also decided she wanted to climb some trees.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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What’s in your garden – Solitary Bees

Hi everyone,

I’m back again with this weeks installment of ‘What’s in your garden’. Today I would like to show you one of my all time favourites, The Solitary Bee.

There are over 200 different species of Solitary Bee in the Britain, it is usually the first species of Bee to be seen in our gardens, as early as march. When feeding on pollen and nectar the hairy bodies of these cute little bees and hairy hind legs are covered, the pollen is then often carried back to the nest.

FACT – Only females are equipped to carry the pollen.

These little beauties usually make their nests in the ground. The female will dig the nest and stock up her pollen and nectar before sealing it back up leaving the young with a nice starter a meal.

Mining Bee

These Bees are excellent pollinators and having them in your garden will do wonders for your Flora.

Now, why are they called Solitary Bees? Well the Answer lies within the name. They are Solitary. They are not social Bees like our Honeybee or Bumblebee, although you may find lots of nests together when a piece of prime real estate is on the market. Nest sites are likely to be in the lawn or where there is bare soil. The nest tunnel is vertical and is usually topped by a mound of fine soil with a hole in the top to get in and out. These Bees can vary in size from 3mm up-to 15mm.

These Bees do have a sting but very rarely use it. They are quite harmless and not aggressive at all.

To attract these little cute fluffy Bees to your garden is quite simple. Lots and lots of flowers will help, but you could also construct or buy a bug hotel. These normally come with chambers made from bamboo for the Bees to make a nest. You could also leave any dandelions that pop up in your garden for as long as possible to help give these Bees a kick start in the early spring.

So here it is, a beautiful portrait of a Solitary Bee in my back garden on a Dandelion.

As normal any question please ask.

Macro Matt.

Solitary Bee