"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, 8 June 2016

#30DaysWild - Garden Bioblitz

I've taken part in the Garden Bioblitz for the last two years so I decided again this year to take part and count it as part of the #30DaysWild Challenge organised by the Wildlife Trusts. The idea is to record all the wildlife you see in your garden (that has arrived of its own accord) over a 24 hour period. So on Sunday, 5th June, (apart from when the French Open Final was on tv!!) I bioblitzed our garden, on Monday I uploaded the photos and set out about identifying the species I wasn't sure about and putting a few where I was still uncertain on i-spot. Then yesterday I uploaded all my records and some photos to i-record.

We have planted a lot of native trees, shrubs and wild flowers over the last 35 years so I have to be careful to include only species that have arrived naturally.

Here is a list of species I found on the Sunday (sorry about the quality of some of the photos I take them just as record shots and many are heavily cropped).

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)

Dunnock (Prunella modularis)

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

(I was hoping for a few more bird species!)

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

Common Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium fontanum)

Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg)

White Clover (Trifolium repens)

Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)

Dandelion (Tarraxacum officinale)

Broad-leaved Willowherb (Enilobium montanum)

Wall Speedwell (Veronica arvensis)

Cat's Ear (Hypochaeris radicola)

Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Upright Yellow Sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)

Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium)

Cleavers (Galium aparine)

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)

Daisy (Bellis perennis)

Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea)

Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Red Campion (Silene dioica) We have planted this in the wildflower meadow at the top of the back garden but a plant has appeared in the front garden so I have counted this one - although the photo taken here is a plant in the meadow.

Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) This plant appeared from nowhere and is one of my favourites - it is spreading all over the garden and the bees love it :)

Smooth Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)

Shepherd's Purse ( Capselia bursa-pastoris)

The following tree species all appeared of their own accord - although the Sycamores are usually pulled out!

Sycamore (Acer pseudo platarius)

Oak - Quercus sp.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria))

Hart's Tongue Fern (Phylitis scolopendrium)

Rough-stalked Feather Moss (Brachythecium rutabulum)

Couch Grass (Elymus repens)

Meadow Grass (Poa)

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria - the first this year :)

Ruddy Streak (Tachystola acroxantha)

Common Swift (Hepialus lupulinus)

Bee Moth (Aphoma sociella)

Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis)

Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata)

Diamond-backed Moth (Plutella xylostella)

I was also hoping for more moth species in the trap!

Leaf Mines

On hawthorn (Stigmella regiella)

On Lilac - Common Slender Leaf Mine Gracillaria syringella

Holly Leaf Mine (Phytomyza ilicis)

Gall Mite on Sycamore (Aceria macrorhyncha)

Red Mason Bee (Osmia rufa)

White-tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus lucorum)

Common Carder Bee (Bombus pasuorum)

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

Early Bumble Bee (Bombus pratorum)

Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris)

Black Ant (Lasius niger)

Red Ant (Myrmica rubra)

The Footballer Hoverfly (Helophilus pendulus)

Eriozona species possibly syrphoides - a bee mimic Hoverfly. I've never seen one of these in the garden before. A very impressive and lovely insect.

Green Shield Bug (Palomena prasina)

Cuckoo Spit which contains the nymph of Philaenus spumarius)

Black Bean Aphid (Aphis fabae)

14-spot Ladybird (Propylea quattuordecimpunctata)

Interestingly, I didn't spot any Harlequins.

Pollen Beetles? - still waiting for a response from i-spot

Sadly, I didn't have time to go rummaging in the log pile looking for more beetles and I also didn't get time for pond dipping so

Pond-skater (Gerris lacustris) was the only pond species. I couldn't see any Common Newts either although there was a Common Frog

Arge Pagana

Common Rough Woodlouse (Porcellio scaber)

Millipede (Diplopoda species)

White-lipped Banded Snail (Capaea hortensis)

This makes around 68 species. I still have some lichens, mosses, grasses, flies, hoverflies a spider and some plants (most minus flowers) to identify but am going to leave them for now and perhaps return to them in a few weeks.

It really is a fun thing to do and would be great for children as it helps you realise the biodiversity that exists just outside your back door.

Apologies for any mistakes in the spelling of scientific names (at times I can't read my own writing! and haven't had time to check them all).

Just a few moths from Monday night's trapping session

Brimstone (Opisthograptis luteolata)

Puss Moth (Cerura vinula)
What a gorgeous moth - B found it on the barbecue cover next to the moth trap - somehow I had missed it!! A new species for the garden.

B has also discovered Orange Tip caterpillars on Honesty (they seem to be eating the seed pods). I am really thrilled although B is rather upset they have ignored the Lady's Smock he grew from seed and planted in the bog garden!!


Wendy said...

A Garden Bioblitz is such a fun and fascinating thing to do. It's so interesting to see what's in your garden and compare this to mine. I would be down on birds, too, as those that have been nesting aren't bringing their young into the open here. I think they're wise to the pair of magpies that are hanging around the different feeders at the moment. That is interesting to see your wildflowers as well. I've decided to do regular garden wildflower notes throughout the summer as I haven't been too clear about exactly what has been coming out when before.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks so much for your lovely comment :) It is always interesting I think to compare gardens in different locations. I was amazed I didn't see a Robin on Sunday!

That is a super idea to keep regular garden wildflower notes through the summer. Someone (may have been Amanda?) mentioned a friend was going to keep a list of all the wildflowers she saw throughout the year which is a good suggestion too especially if it encourages you to id the one's you don't know! :)

Must admit though that when I do these surveys I get so frustrated at my lack of knowledge of some species especially flies and beetles!

Pam said...

This is fantastic, what a range you have in the garden, it's amazing what you see when you really look isn't it :)

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks so much. Yes, you are so right you can see so much when you do actually focus for a few hours and spend the time really looking :)

Margaret Adamson said...

It was lovely to see all the wonderful wild flowers you have in your garden as well as the critters. That was a fun thing to do

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks Margaret - so pleased you enjoyed :)

SeagullSuzie said...

I had cats ear in my Brixham garden and the bees loved it-especially the orange tailed bumble bee. A great overview of your garden. I also like the hoverfly-bee mimic, very nice indeed!
To get away from the computer I've been gardening (aching joints allowing) and am delighted with the results-next year will be better as the garden matures, but already more birds are coming in since I opened it up.
One thing's for sure, down here in very sunny and warm south Devon we are not short on bees...which is a delight.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Many thanks Suzie - so good to hear about all the garden bees you are getting :) I bet you can't wait for next year to reap the benefits of all your gardening hard work - a good place to take a break from computers :)

amanda peters said...

Well it's been great to see what you recorded, you did well with the bees, now you have said I haven't seen any Harlequins this year, last year the garden was full of them.
Lovely to see your photo of the Puss moth, aren't they stunning.
Noted to day some of the plants have flowered, so should have recorded the "Leaves" i saw ! Groundsel has popped up over the last few days which I've not had before.
Checked iRecords and I have messages on three of my records, was a bit vague on the ID, so will have to a bit more research.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks very much Amanda. I've been seeing a lot more bees in the last week since the weather went hotter. Similar situation here re: Harlequins.

Thought of you and your sighting as soon as I saw the Puss moth B had potted for me! Really stunning :)

B weeded the front garden this afternoon while I was out - thank goodness it wasn't before the bioblitz!! He wants to put some Cosmos in the border and self-seeded Cornflower and Aguilegia are putting on a good show. Bees love cornflowers and thank goodness he has left the foxgloves alone!

I will have to check i-record in case I have messages although I have had an email that some records are awaiting verification. I also need to try and work out which records I still have to put on there.

Have a good weekend and enjoy the moth trapping event :)

Rosie said...

This looks like an interesting thing to take part in and you have a great many different species of plants and insects in your garden as well as the birds, bees and moths. I admire your ability to identify them all:)

Dartford Warbler said...

Really interesting to read your Bio Blitz list. So good to see how many wild flowers you have and how many insects are there as a result.
I saw my first speckled wood butterfly two days ago. There are a few Brimstones but very little else. So far it`s not a great year for butterflies here.

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks very much :) A lot of the wild flowers have been identified in the past and I've been moth trapping for quite a few years now so there weren't quite so many to id on the day!

Dartford Warbler - Thanks so much :) It hasn't been brilliant here this year for butterflies either although to be fair haven't been out that much to nature reserves targeting specific species this year :( Holly Blues do seem to be having another good year in the garden though :)

Toffeeapple said...

A very interesting read, at least you didn't come across the dread Lily Beetles!

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much :) I did look but the Snakeshead Fritillaries seem to have failed to emerge this year :(

David said...

Wow, what a great list and collection of flora and fauna! The leaf-mines were interesting, a subject which I have never really pursued, but I think I will start keeping an eye out for them now. However judging by the red spots on the Sycamores leaves we have lots of Gall Mites up here!

Nice selection of bees and hoverflies and good to read about the lack of Harlequin ladybirds in your garden. These days well over half of the Ladybirds I encounter are Harlequins :-( I also think you are right about the Pollen Beetles, though the exact species is impossible to tell.

Love the Puss Moth too. Indeed I am super envious of both you and Amanda's recording of it this year :-)

Hope you are well and continuing to enjoy 30 days Wild :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks so much David. This is a useful website for leafmine id http://www.leafmines.co.uk/html/Mine_Guide.htm (you may have to cut and paste). Spotted another one today on Smooth Sow Thistle! I posted the wrong photo for Sycamore gall mites - should have been one with little red dots. I suspect the leaf I posted is also under some type of insect attack :)

I was really pleased to find a native ladybird as you say so many I see these days are Harlequins but I've looked since the bioblitz and there are very few about! Thanks for confirmation re: Pollen Beetles - exact species of so many creatures can be very difficult!

First Puss Moth ever for me David - do you get them in your area? If so, I am sure one will turn up one day - I've had a long wait!!

Fine here thanks and hope you all are too.

Millymollymandy said...

What a wonderful collection - it must have taken a while, especially if you needed to ID things. It's a good idea to do it anyway to get an idea of species which either visit or have colonisd. It's always interesting to see the native plants/weeds that have appeared all of their own accord! Well done!

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks very much. Fortunately quite a few of the things I'd id'd on past bioblitzes but yes it can be time consuming. I spent about an hour or so on bioblitz then hour or so uploading and cropping photos. The longest part was putting some I needed id help/confirmation on i-spot which took several hours and then another few hours to put them on i-record!

I do normally try to id new species I see in the garden on a day by day basis. Having said that I don't bother much with many flies and the tiny hoverflies! Too hard!! :)