Thursday, 6 February 2014
Garden Biodiversity - 365 Challenge - Part 1
Last year on Twitter there was a fun garden challenge to try and see 365 species in a year. Unfortunately I didn't find out about it until early summer and decided I didn't want to join in half way through the year but that I'd take part this year. I haven't been able to find much information about it though for 2014 and have only managed to track down two people who are participating (one trying to beat last year's record and one trying to add to last year's total). I decided I'd have a go anyway mainly to encourage myself to take more notice of groups that I currently only try and identify half-heartedly such as hoverflies, flies, beetles, woodlice etc.
I've set myself a few "rules". For example, I will only count species that occur within the actual garden and not count those just flying over or seen over the garden fence in a neighbour's garden! I've also followed in Owen Paterson's footsteps and moved the goalposts a little as I will be counting non-native species such as Grey Squirrel and Harlequin Ladybird.
However, I won't be counting species that we've planted ourselves so all those lovely wildflowers such as Primroses
and species in the wildflower meadow and native trees and shrubs in the mini wood and hedgerows are out of the equation. I will, however, count species such as Bramble and Coral Spot fungus
that have colonised naturally.
I got off to quite a good start in January - without really trying I managed 31 species.
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Great Tit (Parus major)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Magpie (Pica pica)
Carrion Crown (Corvus corone)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Coal Tit (Periparus ater)
Redwing (Turdus iliacus)
Woodpecker (Dendrocopus major)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Long-Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Stock Dove (Columba oenas)
Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret)
Human (Homo sapiens) A bit cheeky this one but I noticed someone else counted it last year!!! :)
Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Bramble (Rubus fruticosa)
Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
Smooth Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)
Holly Leaf Gall Fly - leafmine (Phytomyza ilicis)
Winter Gnat (Family Trichoceridae)
Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis)
Stigmella aurella - leaf mine on bramble
Coral Spot Fungus (Nectria cinnabarina)
I suspect only a few species will be added in February and March as there won't be many insects to add. If I'm honest I think I will be very fortunate to reach 365 as last year, despite moth trapping, I only identified 100 moths. I'll need to try harder on the worn noctuids this year and also start identifying micros in earnest. On a good year we get about 30/35 bird species in the garden and about 12/15 butterfly species. Mammals are few and far between - I'll be lucky to reach 5 plus about 3 amphibians. So I am going to have to concentrate a lot more on insects in general. Still it'll be fun and give me the excuse I've been waiting for to buy some more id guides :)
I'll do an update on progress about once a month.