Armchair Naturalist-Wildlife surveys

Several people have asked about surveys that they can take part in during lockdown. Obviously please do these within your gardens and don’t go endangering yourself. So as part of my next armchair naturalist series, after an idea from Haith’s, here are several surveys you can currently take part in within your own gardens.

Taking part in wildlife surveys can be great fun. It engages the brain, they often teach you to identify new species and provide valuable data for conservation organisations. I’ve discussed the benefits of wildlife surveys and many that happen during the year previously here. Today I am just listing surveys you can currently take part in during lockdown from your garden.

#Greatstaghunt The people’s trust for endangered animals want to hear about any sightings of stag beetles. Not one I get up North but some of you may be fortunate enough to see.

Living with mammals is looking to know what mammals you can sight in your gardens.

Big hedgehog map is mapping hedgehog sightings and people pledging to make hedgehog holes.

National Biodiversity network list many surveys you can take part in through the year.

UK ladybird survey  The UK ladybird survey keeps track of the spread of invasive harlequin ladybirds compared to our natives.

UK pollinator monitoring scheme asks for you to do a timed survey on a patch of flowers. You can add your records here.

The big pond dip is one for people with ponds, obviously best done from May to August. Once you’ve done your dip it gives you a score and you then get advice on what you could do to make your pond more wildlife-friendly.

BTO The British trust for ornithology runs many year-round surveys but the easiest of these to take part in currently is the garden watch.

iRecord allows you to record all manner of wildlife sightings, insect, bird, mammals and wildflowers. This is then used by many organisations to help support where numbers are dropping and to see where wildlife is thriving.

Feel free to add any more you know of in the comments below.

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Snow and Birdwatch

The last few days has seen snow come to Hornsea. It’s the first time Alice has seen snow. I wasn’t there to see Alice’s reaction, but apparently her face was a picture.

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With the snow unfortunately came a storm and has flooded the roads on the sea front. So we will be avoiding walks down along the front for a few days.

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This week I received my RSPB Big Garden pack. This is the worlds largest wildlife survey according to the RSPB’s claims. Simple idea, sit and watch your garden for an hour and record which birds come in. It has been going since 1979 after featuring on Blue Peter it went big. It provides one of the best long term studies of garden birds numbers. From the results the RSPB know which birds numbers are down and which could do with our help.

last year the top 10 were as follows:

  1. House sparrow
  2. Starling
  3. Blue tit
  4. Blackbird
  5. Wood Pigeon
  6. Goldfinch
  7. Chaffinch
  8. Great Tit
  9. Robin
  10. Long tailed tit

Within my garden starlings will probably come out top, but we may have some more unusual visitors being by the sea with various gulls visiting regularly.

The pack contains some useful identification sheets. A wildlife calender for what to look out for through the year. They even threw in some ground coffee to drink while watching. Although as a coffee hating tea drinker I will be giving that a miss.

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In the build up I’m going to be trying to makes sure the birds in my garden are being well supplied on the feeders. With the solid ground and snow they will struggle for food sources, so more than ever they need a good stock.

Alice is getting more mobile. She is pulling herself up, crawling and standing with small support. It won’t be long until she’s walking on our adventures out.

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