Garden Bioblitz 2016

Last week I took part in the Garden Bioblitz 2016. The idea is that for 24 hours you list all the species you can find in your garden. It was the first time I’ve taken part or done any such survey and it was really interesting.

It’s worth noting that I have a small garden which obviously limits the number of species that I was going to see. The vast majority of the garden is lawn and patio too so I was quite pleased that find 42 different species. The weather didn’t help as it was over 20 degrees celsius which meant less avian visitors and probably less invertebrate life near the surface.

I spotted most of our common garden bird visitors: house sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, woodpigeons, collared doves and dunnocks. I also saw two less common visitors, a coal tit and I think for the first time ever in the garden, a blackcap.

As part of the bioblitz you can record plants, as long as they are not ones planted by you or the people who owned the house before you. We have lots of weeds on our lawn such as daisiesdandelions, buttercups and clover. There are also various other plants that have somehow found their way into our garden over the years such as ivy, common pincushion moss, welsh poppies and (perplexingly given there isn’t any in the nearby area) holly. I also found the plant below which is called herb robert and is actually edible (and may even have health benefits).

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Inevitably, the vast majority of my finds were invertebrates. I actually found these most interesting as they are not something you usually look for. I found it thrilling lifting up logs and plant pots with no idea what was going to be underneath.

It turns out our garden is awash with woodlice- every time I lifted something up there would be woodlice crawling everywhere. I think we have at least three different species including the lovely rosy woodlouse.

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The other most common thing lurking underneath logs and plant pots were slugs. There were lots of both common garden slugs and yellow slugs, like the one you can see below.

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I also found three different species of snail. As well as the common garden snail I found the two below, a white-lipped snail and a copse snail.

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Here’s perhaps my coolest find. I’m not 100% confident on the identification but I think this is a white-legged snake millipede:

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My final one to share with you is not for those with a fear of spiders- a monstrous house spider!

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Overall I really enjoyed doing the bioblitz and look forward to doing it again next year. It was amazing to see the amount of life in my tiny garden. For more information about the project go to the Garden Bioblitz website.

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