Tuesday, 3 June 2014

National Garden Bioblitz 2014

The Safari had an interesting weekend pottering around in the garden at Base Camp doing a bit of recording of all the natural wildlife we could find for this year’s National Garden Bioblitz.
We participated in the event last year but couldn’t recall how many species we found; we uploaded them to the website but rather remissly didn’t write them all down in our notebook, so we set ourselves a, perhaps slightly low, target of 75 species. It was suggested we might cheat if we got to 99 by counting Frank on the mammal list – we didn’t need to in the end.
There was also something else of interest going on at the same time and related to the fun and games but we can’t tell you about it just yet, it’s all a hush-hush mystery for you to ponder.
Moths were trapped, the pond was netted, bushes tapped, plants are nice and easy cos they don’t move round – much – the birds were a bit iffy as we were wandering up and down in the garden into areas we seldom visit – it’s a jungle up there - and that seems to have prevented some of the regular ones coming in and finding their way onto our list, Wifey’s pots and tubs were lifted and even the old pooter had an outing.
The moth trap was a little disappointing due to the weather overnight, it was too clear and the temperature had dropped, the previous night was more productive.
As the morning warmed up invertebrates started to move around particularly the local bees who have discovered our invertebrate feeder in a big way! Maybe too big a way cos they’re spending too much time slurping Golden Syrup and not doing the pollinating job they’ve evolved to do – actually they haven’t evolved to pollinate it’s a by-product of their foraging they do that the sneaky plants have evolved to take advantage of.
Tally sheets were filled up and it didn’t take too long to pass our target of 75 species, particularly as we had over 30 species of ‘weeds’, sorry - wildflowers, growing in and around the place.
The warm afternoon had us flagging a bit, well we’d been on the go since early doors, but that didn’t stop us having a couple of last flails with the shrubs broom handle over a white tray to see what dropped in...worth it too, we gained our first and only Common Earwig and a few tiny insects barely visible with our naked eye.
In the end we entered 130+ species on to the website after several had to be posted on iSpot for and identification – where would we be without those clever iSpotters, many thanks to them for all their help over the years. Some where instantly queried...like Wood Mouse, Early Bumble Bee and Meadow Buttercup, are they really that hard...
Would you believe it? In that 114 verified species there wasn’t a single Ladybird and a couple of aquatic species we found easily in the pond last year never came to light – surely they must still be in there somewhere.
What was most interesting in the pond was when we were looking for any of the Frogs we disturbed something but didn’t get a good look at that swam very sinuously and as it banked over the planting ledge to dive to depths it showed a flash of orange...ohhhhhhh was that a newt...we thought so and grabbed the net and did some serious swishing but to no avail. 
You might get some pics tomorrow
Where to next? Patch 2 better produce something, sure it will as we have a Brownie group causing mayhem on the beach in the evening.
In the meantime let us know who's causing the ID blips in your outback.

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