A record of wildlife in my garden and various trips to the Warwickshire countryside and occasionally further afield.
"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."
From "Auguries of Innocence"
by William Blake
Wednesday, 13 August 2014
Garden Biodiversity - 365 Challenge - Part 4
Just a little update on how I'm getting on with my attempt to see 365 species that have arrived in or colonised the garden naturally during 2014.
I haven't added any new bird species to the list since Swift in May but we often get surprise visitors around this time of year as passing migrants stop off so there is still chance to add a few more birds to the list - hopefully!!
Finally, a bat sighting a
Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
I did spot a mouse running across the garage floor a few evenings ago but it moved liked greased lightning so I have no idea whether it was a House Mouse or Wood Mouse. We have set up one of those humane live traps but so far haven't caught anything. From past experience :( its Wood Mice that are naive enough to visit the trap whereas House Mice don't but I suspect B will be clearing out the garage one weekend very soon so I may yet get an id.
Lots of species flowering in the wildflower meadow and in pots but I am being very honest and not counting these so the only species added are:
Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) - in the front garden so I have counted this one as its well away from areas we have planted in the back garden
Lesser Hawkbit (Leontodun taraxacoides)
Broad-leaved Willow-herb (Epilobium montanum)
Bryophytes and Fungi
Still have quite a few species to identify!
None added - wish I could find a toad - I haven't seen one in the garden for years
Two species of Caddis Fly have been added - Stenophylax permistus and Cyrnus flavidus
These can be hard to id even though I often catch them in the moth trap so am not sure how many more I will be able to get to species level.
Large Rosesaw Fly - (Arge pagana) I may have mentioned this one in the last update? But frantically trying to get the post finished before I have to get the tea on so I haven't time to check!
Turnip Sawfly (Athalia rosae)
Flesh Fly (Sarcophagus carnaria) - a very pretty looking fly but with some rather horrible habits. Unlike most flies they are ovoviviparous depositing hatched or hatching maggots rather than eggs on carrion, dung or open wounds on mammals. At times like this I am very glad we no longer keep pet rabbits with all the worries of Fly-strike every summer.
Sawfly - Macrophya albo annulata
I am getting really interested in hoverflies - there are so many in the garden (sadly many too small and quick to take photos which means most will probably never be identified). Golden Rod and Cosmos flowers are proving a real magnet to them at the moment. For id I've been using one of the 2 Collin insect guides I have or a free booklet given away with BBC Wildlife Magazine many years ago but I've just treated myself to Britain's Hoverflies : An Introduction to Hoverflies of Britain by Ball and Norris. I just hope it doesn't arrive in the post on a Saturday - some women sneak clothes, shoes handbags etc. into the house with me its books!!
Species added recently include
Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)
Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)
Dead Head Fly Myathropa florea
Species Added include:
Cuckoo Bee (Coelyoxis sp) another one I may have mentioned last time?
Field Cuckoo Bee (Bombus campestris)
Honey Bee (Apus melifera)
Common Green Lacewing (Chrysopera carnea)
Common Backswimmer (Notonecta glauca)
Its proving difficult, in fact, impossible in some cases to get some insects down to actual species level. So do I count them or not? Well, as this is just a fun challenge I am doing on my own, I have decided that I probably will although I expect purists will frown! If I was taking part in an organised challenge such as Garden Moth Challenge I wouldn't count them though!
Dragon and Damselflies
I'm really disappointed in the lack of Dragon and Damselflies in the garden this year. Blue damsels and hawker dragonflies have bred in the pond in the past but this year I haven't yet seen one damselfly and the few Dragonflies I have spotted have disappeared from the garden by the time I get outside.
Several species were added in July:
Green-veined White (Pieris napi)
Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Comma (Polygonia c-album
Gatekeeper (Celastrina argiolus)
I did see a Skipper species on a lavender plant but by the time I got close enough to try and id it it had flown off never to return :( Just to be perverse I am not counting this! as I really should be able to get butterflies down to species level.
Not surprisingly, most of the additions to the 365 list have been moths - apologies if you've seen some of these photos before.
The total to date now stands at 216 species. To stand any chance of reaching 365 I really do need to put out the moth trap more often. I've only trapped once in August (we've had rain most nights and, although, the 15w actinic runs "cold" and doesn't need a rain guard I do worry about the electrics). In addition, opening a trap with lots of drowned moths in soggy egg-boxes is not pleasant :(
I have got dozens of photos of species still to be identified such as micro moths, worn macros, spiders and flies but that will be a job for the autumn/winter when hopefully there will be more time to work on them.
If I am honest I don't think I will reach 365 but I am having a lot of fun and it's encouraged me to try and id and study a lot of insect groups I am not familiar with such as saw-flies. Its fascinating too to see just how many species use your garden and how they all interact. I have certainly become a lot more observant!
Sorry for lack of italics for the scientific names - I can never get italics, bold or links to work on the very basic blogger I use. One of these days I'll pluck up courage and switch to the newer version which D tells me is brilliant!
Welcome to my blog. I have been interested in natural history from an early age and we have tried to create a garden attractive to wildlife. I also enjoy reading, photography, collecting fossils, visiting historic buildings and gardens and supporting Aston Villa. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like to email me, my email address is ciraggedrobinsATgmail.com - remember to replace AT with @. Thank you for visiting.