Whilst we are all in lockdown and unable to go to the reserve, Paige our Conservation Intern will be letting us know what wildlife we can see and encourage into our gardens. Take it away Paige!
We hope you are all keeping safe and looking after your wellbeing during these uncertain times. We can only assume you are missing Frampton as much as we are and are desperate to explore nature at this lovely time of year. As much as we need nature, we need each other in these times of uncertainty and worry, so we plan to be here for you! We are going to stay connected and support you in finding ways to stay connected to nature from home with the wildlife in your garden, it’s the least we can do since you support us in giving nature a home.
Firstly, let us just remind ourselves of the time of year, with life in the form of plants, insects, birds and mammals all fulfilling their spring desires of reproducing and thriving. With the first day of spring behind us, for many the long hibernation is coming to an end and the birds are busy building their nests in preparation of the breeding season. Hedgehogs are starting to emerge in search of food, butterflies begin to flourish with the potential to see peacock, comma and brimstones on lovely sunny days, and bees are on the hunt for nectar. Riverfly volunteers having worked hard through the cold winter months sampling aquatic invertebrates, have ensured riverflies have suitable environments to flourish in before emerging in the spring. Species of mayfly and stonefly are preparing to emerge as adults, and as they do they provide a fundamental food source for many birds. Moths are also emerging, with about 2500 species in Britain alone and many of these recorded in gardens. See Sarah’s (Conservation Officer based at Frampton) and Simons (Assistant Warden) recent garden moth finds below.
Light brown apple moth
Hebrew character moth
We ourselves may change are habits in response to spring, with changes in day length, temperature and an increase in bird song all around us, we start to venture out into nature, more so than in the winter months. It is safe to say there is a lot happening, and potentially a lot you can do within your home gardens. We have a couple of suggestions below!
Since we can’t all visit marvellous places like Frampton and Freiston, our options to go birding are restricted to the perimeter of our gardens or when we take a walk as our one exercise of the day. This isn’t exactly bad news, and we are quite lucky that it has fallen in the spring. We can hear birdsong all year around, but there is nothing quite like the dawn chorus as it persists through the spring and summer stronger and louder than normal. With the breeding season among us, there is plenty to see. House sparrows gather noisily in hedges while starlings sing from the roof tops. Blackbirds are actively searching the floor of your garden for food and nesting material or taking advantage of the surge in inverts. Wrens are also busy prolifically building nests, with the males building multiple nest for the female to choose from. So why not take the time, while we have it, to watch these beautiful birds in action.
The RSPB has begun a lockdown breakfast birdwatch between 8 am - 9 am and welcomes everyone to take part. The aim is to create a friendly, supportive and engaged community who are able to share what they see in their gardens using the #BreakfastBirdwatch hashtag. Everyone is welcome to share their sightings, on their balconies, rooftops and in their gardens, while adhering to the government guidelines on COVID-19. Alternatively, if you’re on twitter you can follow the “self-isolating bird club” (see image below) and become part of an engaged community sharing sightings via their twitter feed. So, get sharing guys and stay connected with the birding community!
On another note, the RSPB have a range of activities that you can do from home on their website or app. All you have to do is go to the RSPB website and if your scroll down on the home page there is a hyperlink named “you can help save nature”, starting in your garden, window-box or on your balcony. This will take you to a page where you can access all the wildlife activities recommended by the RSPB and even make your own personal plan. Alternatively, you can download the RSPB app and all the activities are on there.
This week I have started with an easy one, the “Bring your garden to life with deadwood” activity. In the rotting wood little gaps between the logs are heaven for a wide range of wildlife. You won’t see much going on at first, as these creatures like to hide in the dark. If you turn one of the logs over in the day, you can watch plenty of creepy-crawlies scurrying away out of the light. At night you can find woodlice, snails and wood mice emerging from shady woodpiles and if you’ve made a log pile in the sun, look for solitary bees seeking nestholes. This new fresh log pile will hopefully become a vital part of the habitat and be beneficial for many species within my garden.
Thank you all for reading, hopefully you find the information useful and manage to stay connected to nature during this period of isolation.
We will see you next week!
Stay home, stay safe!
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