We are currently experiencing unprecedented times. Lock-down, self-isolation and self-distancing have all appeared in our vocabulary in the last 5 weeks. Spring is upon us and we are confined to barracks except for exercise. Even the self-isolating Wetland Bird Survey has been put on hold.
There is a patch of ground that the majority of us can cast an eye upon. Even for those that do not have a garden or a window box, a view of the street can provide opportunities for watching wildlife.
I have started to record the species that live, visit and fly over our house in Glanton. This also includes species that live inside e.g. Daddy-long-legs spider. Since the announcement of lock-down on the 24th March, 86 species have been recorded (Plants 20, Invertebrates 30, Birds 35 and 1 Mammal). This is not too bad for a backyard that is enclosed on three sides by buildings and has a concrete floor. I also search the pavement that is adjacent to the property for colonising plants, Bryophytes, and Liverworts. Listening in the early mornings and evenings has helped to increase the numbers of birds seen / heard from the house.
Bird highlights have included 2 Shelduck (29/3), Oystercatcher regularly flies over the house, a pair of Curlew can be heard displaying in fields to the south of the village, Mediterranean gull (adult on 24/3 – flew over), migrating Fieldfares and Skylarks, a visiting Chiffchaff in the garden and a fly-over Yellowhammer. All of the plants that I have recorded have arrived on their own volition (as far as I know). These include an Ash sapling, Hop trefoil and Common mouse-ear (on the pavement). Invertebrates are an ever-expanding list. The moth trap has as expected been quiet but 8 species have been recorded already including Early tooth-striped and an Early grey. Three species of butterfly have already visited the garden; Small white, Small tortoiseshell and Peacock. Slowly but steadily the search for invertebrates continues especially under the flower pots where there are host of marvellous creatures to be found.
A good place to start is to have a look at the Nature spot website (https://www.naturespot.org.uk/). This is a website for recording the wildlife of Leicestershire and Rutland but it is an extremely useful website for getting started with lots of excellent photos. The website is a credit to their organisers and I just wish there was a similar resource in the north.
Stay safe and happy searching.