Monday, 6 June 2016

100 species for Garden Bioblitz 2016?

The Safari spend all day yesterday in the garden getting sunburned and recording the wildlife we found for this year's Garden Bioblitz. Crikey it was warm out there with glorious wall to wall non-stop sunshine - like a proper real old-fashioned summer's day!
We started early with the moths. The neighbours had been away so we were able to put the big light on and with a warm, still, muggy night had the best catch we've had for a couple of years. Once all our kit laid out we were ready to open the trap.
Of course there were a few of the immigrant Diamondbacks, some didn't make it into the trap but were found nearby on the walls and in the vegetation.
Inside the trap there were some species we've not seen that often at Base Camp, like this Figure of 80.
Middle Barred Minors turn up more often.
As do Poplar Greys.
This one was a bit flighty and escaped but fortunately landed first on the lid of our recycling bin. Had it gone straight to ground we don't think we'd have found him.
Delving deeper into the trap it was great to see one of favourite moths in there, Green Silver Lines, another species that doesn''t find its way into the trap very often.
But the top spot went to this beauty, not one but two of them!
They really are something special. 
As ever there were some unIDd moths in there so if anyone can help please do.
Pug 1 - we seem to have developed 'Pug blindness'
Pug 2
Probably a worn Small Square Spot
Micro 1
Micro 2 - Now IDd for us as Cochylis atricapitana
We ended up having a moth-off or game of moth poker with our brother who lives in north eastern Italy and has recorded more species of butterfly within a kilometer of his front door than there are in the whole of the British Isles! We were holding back the Green Silver Lines to trump him but the best he could offer was Latticed Heath, a species we see too, only a few hundred yards away along the North Blackpool Pond Trail.
Once the moths were sorted (25 species including the unIDs) it was time to look at the birds
Fly-overs like  the Swifts and Sparrowhawk and this Herring Gull don't count
Woodpigeons do though
We heard a Dunnock and the Blackcap singing nearby but not within the confines of the garden so they can't be counted either but we were quite happy to add them to the page in the notebook.
14 bird species visited, added to the moths makes a running total of 39 species.
Time to check out the vegetation. We counted everything green that hasn't been planted by us or obviously planted by previous occupants. 
Round the back of the garage our wild area gave us 17 species of greenery in its few square yards, we might have missed a couple too.
There is a path you just can't see it from this angle
Herb Bennett was almost totally absent last year, but there's several specimens both in front and back gardens this year.
Both the common species of buttercups are present, this is the taller Meadow Buttercup, but one species we didn't find was Daisy, then again we don't have a lawn.
Not countable but nicely catching the sunlight was a Clematis seedhead, often known as Old Man's Beard for obvious reasons.
We found 29 species of plants and grasses making 68 species and counting.
Two of the plants had leaf miners, the Creeping Buttercups and Cowslips, which leads us nicely to the invertebrates.
While photographing this Garden Cross Spider catching a tiny fly and then continuing to spin its web
when we disturbed this very long legged Cranefly
We had hoped to get a pic of the Ruby Tailed Wasp that occasionally frequents the garage wall but as ever we missed it with the camera. We did see a new very small bee, anyone got an idea as to its ID?
Our regular solitary bee has completed its brood tube and is now attending the smaller one above it.
After the excitement of the solitary bees we turned our attention to getting some pics of the several species of Bumble Bees in the garden. 
Only 20 identifiable species of invertebrates were found and no snails, slugs or worms - it really was that hot and dry! The highlights were a Small White laying eggs on Wifey's new Nasturtiums and the garden's first Speckled Wood of the year. 
The total now is up to 88 species., what chance another 12 to make the ton.
As we were totting up we felt a faint tickle on our leg and looked down to see a tiny Crab Spider walking up towards our knee.
No, it's not on our leg for the pic
But what about those 12 extra species? Well there's the moss growing by the kitchen wall and some lichens on the front wall and there's a whole host of little flies we've no idea what they might be. There wasn't that many hoverflies out either, where are they? We're sure with a bit more effort and some better ID skills and a little luck with the weather 100 species should be possible.
So we didn't get 100 species, so what we had great fun finding the 88 species we did find.
Where to next? Still at Base Camp tomorrow so we'll have another look around and see what we can find.
In the meantime let us know who's climbing to giddy heights in your outback.


cliff said...

The Green Silver Lines & Elephant Hawk-moth are stunners. We get that Herb Bennett in the garden, I know it was Wood Avens, but a quick google tells me that's one & the same thing.

You've got some cracking bee in flight shots there Dave.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff