Last weekend I took part in Garden Bioblitz 2015 - the aim is to list all the species you find in your garden over a 24 hour period. You don't need to spend hours and hours if you don't want to but just go out at different times of the day and record what you see. Help with identification is available on i-spot and when you have identified all the species you have found records can be entered on i-Record.
Garden biodiversity has not been that well researched in the past so every record is important.
You can only record species of animals and plants that have arrived in the garden of their own accord so all those lovely native shrubs, trees and flowers we've planted over the years can't be counted! :(
If you want to find out more or take part next year there is a website at www.bioblitz.org.uk.
I couldn't take part on the Saturday (FA Cup Final) so opted to do the recording on Sunday, 31st May. The weather wasn't brilliant as it rained most of the morning. The afternoon luckily was dry with some sunny intervals.
Last year I found just over 70 species and, as expected with the cool weather, this year's findings were lower. There were certainly far fewer insects about and I didn't find even one spider. No mammals were seen this year - not even the Grey Squirrel who is a regular visitor.
(Many of these weren't in flower this year but luckily many of the species I had also found in 2014 and were, therefore, easy to identify this time round.
Ribwort Plantain - was a bit worried about this one as we have planted this species in the wildflower "meadow" area but this was in the lawn in the front garden so I've counted it!
Green Alkanet (I am really pleased this has somehow self-seeded as its such a magnet for pollinating insects)
Upright Yellow Sorrel
Smooth Sow Thistle
Common Cat's Ear
Broad-leaved Willow Herb
This Hart's Tongue Fern has self-seeded in one of the stone walls
Oak - this Oak (Quercus sp.) self-seeded and OH has planted it in a pot
Common Whitebeam - a common street tree round here and this one self-seeded just after we moved in - its now huge and home to the nestbox which houses the Blue Tit family - all six chicks by the way are still doing well.
Perennial Rye Grass
Common Couch Grass
Buff-tailed Bumble Bee
Early Bumble Bee
Black Garden Ant
Holly Leaf Mine (Phytomyxa ilicis)
Stigmella aurella - found on Bramble
White-lipped Banded Snail
I found a real hotspot for ladybirds in the front garden where part of the Beech hedge was in full sun. There were loads of Harlequins
Several pairs were mating - anxious to guarantee the next generation!
and I was really pleased to find a native 2-spot ladybird in the same area of the hedge. Sorry rubbish photo to be honest when I am bioblitzing I just snap away to get a record for id purposes only as from memory they want you to upload loads of photos to verify your records.
Black Bean Aphid
Common Pond Skater
Common Rough Woodlouse
I ran out of time again this year so didn't have chance again to do any pond dipping or examine the log pile. There are several moss, lichen and grass species I am having problems identifying.
The total is higher than I expected given the cool weather - just over 60 species although a few may not be accepted by i-Record. For example, I suspect Honey Bee is probably not on their list! Last year I had problems with some of the species names although I think in the end I managed to record them all.
Its certainly a fun thing to do and would be particularly good if you had young children. It also makes you realise just how many species are using the garden and gives you an incentive to actually identify them all.