As many of us find ourselves spending more time at home, and the postponement of all IWNHAS meetings, we want to make sure you still feel connected with nature even if it is not quite on the same scale you may be accustomed to.
Alongside our new ‘iWatch My Garden’ campaign, we’ve come up with a list of species which you may like to record and have also collated links to other surveys and recording activities that may be of interest.
‘Record Makers’ – The IWNHAS holds and maintains the IW Species Records Database, and we would love utilise this time to encourage more wildlife observations and records, this lockdown period has the potential to create a bumper haul of species records collectively which would it turn provide one of the most detailed snapshots of garden species distribution across Isle of Wight in living memory – please send us your observations!
If you want to record directly online and do more with your data, then we would recommend setting-up an iRecord account / downloading the app (both free), however you may just wish to download and print a general recording form which you can add to as and when, then send to us later in the year.
Here are a few species to get you started:
This bird has declined quite a lot in recent years, however it’s still a regular visitor to some Island gardens. It has a very distinctive song at this time of year and would be useful to know where they are occurring.
Why not let us know if you have Greenfinches regularly visiting your gardens?
1. Simply make a note of the species and the date
2. Count the most birds that land at once
3. Tell us a bit about your garden e.g. do you have bird feeders, are you rural / urban?
Which species of Ladybirds do you have in your garden? Did you know that Britain has some 46 species belonging to this family, although only 26 of these are recognisable as ladybirds.
Many of us are familiar with the 7-spot ladybird and the Harlequin invader, but what of the humble 2-spot ladybird or the 22-spot ladybird?
Can you help us find out more about our IW ladybird population by recording them in your garden?
You may wish to record adults and / or the larva.
Download a ladybird ID sheet here
A list of 25 most conspicuous ladybird species is available here
Download a ladybird larva ID sheet here
Bees & Hoverflies
How many different species of bees and hoverflies do you have visiting your garden?
Here are some useful resources to help get you started:
Speedwells (Veronica sp.)
Speedwells are widespread throughout the UK and most gardens are likely to have at least one species, how many different Speedwells do you have in your garden?
A resource on Identifying Speedwells can be found here
Information about Speedwells here
Fancy having a go at making your own Moth Trap to see what visits your garden during the night?
Local expert Iain Outlaw has put together this resource for assembling a small-scale moth trap ideal for gardens. Please note: this was made prior to the current restrictions, however most components can probably be sourced online.
Click here for a simpler method.
National Surveys & Schemes
Garden Butterfly Survey
This national survey asks you to record and report the butterflies that visit your garden over the course of a year. Create a free account, submit your sightings and help us learn more about how butterflies are faring in UK gardens.
Garden Wild Flower Hunt
The BSBI usually ask you to share your records of plants found outside the garden gate, but now they’re asking you to tell them about the wildflowers (“weeds”?) in your garden, on your balcony, in that planter by your front door…
Your records will help find out which wildflowers are growing in gardens across Britain and Ireland so we can understand more about their distribution and ecology.
Wild Flower Hour
This takes place every Sunday evening where botanists, both amateur and expert share photographs of wild or naturalised plants spotted in bloom across Britain & Ireland during the previous week.
Use the hashtag #wildflowerhour or – if you don’t want to take part, you just want to see what other people are sharing – then click on the link to see which plants other people have spotted and shared via Twitter. You can also follow Wildflower Hour posts on Facebook or on Instagram.
BTO Garden Birdwatch
Help with research into garden wildlife by joining our Garden BirdWatch network by keeping a list of the different birds that you see using your garden over the course of a week.
You can optionally record the maximum number of each species you see together during the week (e.g. three Blackbirds seen together at one time). You can optionally record other wildlife (mammals, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, bumblebees and dragonflies).
For Younger Naturalists
Here is a selection of nature activities and ideas for getting involved with wildlife recording…
How Wild Are We?
A new set of Citizen Science surveys from Hampshire & IW Wildlife Trust asking for species records you can see from your windows, what visits your balcony and what’s living in your garden.
Download these brilliant wildflower spotter sheets for each month of the year, showing five wild flowers to try and find that month. Then share what you’ve found on Twitter & Instagram #herbologyhunt or on the HerbologyHunt Facebook group.
Brilliant set of printable resources from The Wildlife Trust. You can search for a topic or species or even create your own spotter sheets to print out.
A wealth of simple family indoor and outdoor activities to explore, enjoy and help nature.
Digital Nature Journal
handy little App. From the Natural History Museum for anybody who enjoys nature and to save what you’ve seen your way
Bird Aware Solent Learning Resources
Signposting to a wealth of nature activities and learning ideas.