Friday, 9 May 2014

Garden Surveys...It's Amazing What A Small Space Yields

I got interested in Garden Surveys last summer and spent a lot of time crawling about on my hands and knees looking at Very Small Things you might otherwise miss, and it astonished me just how much stuff there is in our garden.

Now that May is here all the Small Things are reappearing, so it's a good time to get out and go looking for them. In fifteen minutes in the garden this afternoon I found the following. Some I knew would be there, others were a lovely surprise....

Common Blue Damselfly (I think). My first of the year. In the veg patch.

Dock Bug, a type of Shield Bug called a Leather Bug. Also in the veg patch
I think this is some kind of Drone Fly. Also in the veg patch

Thyme-leaved Speedwell. Veg patch.

Foxglove, sown last year and about to flower for the first time

Geum: Mrs J Bradshaw. Sown last year by the wildlife pond
Goldfinch. They are coming singularly at the moment which makes me hope that children are on the way...

Grass Snake egg in the veg patch
I think this is a Groundhopper

Hawthorn blossom. I love the delicate pink dots on the flowers.

Lichen on the apple tree- a good indicator of clean air

One of my targets for this year is to get to know lichens betters....

Dandelion seed head

Micropterix calthella moth. Rather Glam, don't you think? I love the bronzed wings :-)

Another Micropterix calthella and a friend I haven't yet ID'd

More of the same. I love this shot. They look very busy all together on the grass!

One of our garden robins. They are definitely feeding chicks so I hope they will bring them to the garden once they're big enough

A scarlet pimpernel flower I found growing in the drive. It is one of the wild flowers I have sown in pots on the patio this year so it was lovely to find it already growing wild in the garden. It makes you realise just how much is already there in the soil's seed bank, just waiting to be allowed to grow and blossom.

Soloman's Seal

A Spittal Bug (or Froghopper) underneath a leaf.
I think this is probably Volucella bombylans, who looks very much like a small bumblebee, but is in fact a hover-fly.
The Blackbird's Child (from yesterday). Our First Baby Of The Year :-)

Not a bad haul for a few minutes staring at the ground- try it, you'll be amazed at what you find.

I've discovered we've also got Lesser Trefoil and Wild Strawberries growing in the driveway, along with several other plants I've yet to ID. Yesterday I found Bugloss and Changing Forget-me-not growing wild in the vineyard. These plants have all appeared this year because the land has been left untouched for a while now. These are exactly the sort of things our wild creatures need, so I'm pleased they are there.

I also saw my Vole while scrabbling round in the veg patch. He shot out from under a plant and made a dive for the drainage pipe we've got lying there. I waited, and sure enough he soon turned round and poked his head out to see what I was up to. He is incorrigibly nosey, but I do love him :-)

I'll leave you with some photos of my Faithful Ecological Surveying Dogs, who were very attentive, right up until the moment they decided to have a fight on my feet....

Look at that expression in Poppy's eye!

I'm off to record everything I have found today in my ever-increasing Garden Survey List and I would really encourage you to try keeping a list of everything you can find in your garden too if you don't already. I'll post more on this subject at another time as I'm waiting delivery on a Very Interesting Book on the subject which I can't wait to read :-)

Hoping to get the Moth Box out over the weekend, weather permitting....There should be some Interesting People in there if I do....

Wishing you all a peaceful evening,

CT x


  1. It is amazing what you can find in a humble garden isn't it and you certainly have loads of little critters and plants on your patch :-) However I am most envious of that Damselfly (which I think is an Azure rather than a Common Blue) as the lack of water anywhere near us means that dragon and damselflies are rare visitors to our garden.

    Hope you have a great weekend :-)

    1. Hugely encouraging too, considering the doom and gloom state of British nature on the whole... It fills me with hope that we can turn things around, by each doing our bit to provide homes and habitats.
      I am not great at damselfly IDs- I thought the end segment looked like a common, but looking at the azure it does looks more like that at the top :-0 The ponds were definitely worth putting in- I reckon they've significantly increased the wildlife we get.

      Hope all's well and have a lovely weekend too x

  2. Great post, have you put your finds on Ispot ? Going to give it another go.
    We went out Last night after the rain, with a tourch (post comming soon).
    OMG the whole garden was moving with slugs,snails and worms, you could hear them moving...a litttle creepy .one of my wild areas is under the bird feeder I like to let the seeds grow and see what you get.
    Amanda x

    1. I've just read your slug post...we had something similar last year and collected hundreds of them in a bucket :-( Poor M lost most of his veg. He was not a happy bunny... x

  3. Amazing what you have found!! I went out today looking for some of my plants in the garden and they have gone missing, I'm not sure whether to blame Mr weeds out plants or not. So you had a day of finding things and I had a day of losing things! xx

    1. Sounds like we were contributing to the Balance Of The Universe between us Amy! :-)

  4. The nyger seed feeder I bought is proving extremely popular, mostly with the smaller tits. And don't the bees and other insects just love that geum Totally Tangerine?

    1. Have you had any finches on it yet? Our goldies have only become regular visitors over the last fortnight- I think they are nesting. Hope your pc is soon mended x

  5. Its wonderful what you can find when you look :) (I have lots of photos of species to id - need more id books!!!!). Love the Damselfly - haven't seen any yet here this year. What book are you waiting for? - sounds interesting!!!

    Have a great weekend.

    1. I've taken to taking pics of plants I don't know on the I phone and trying to work them out later- they are backing up a bit now :-)

      The book is Jenny Owen's 30 year Garden Survey- recommended by one of my lecturers, I expect you may already know of it, it looks fascinating.

      Have a lovely weekend too :-)

  6. We were just in the backyard painting fence yesterday and cleaning up around fence and garden and noticed all the little garden bugs too. Some are so small, one would almost miss them. Lovely Post and most interesting. Have a wonderful day and the paw-paws too :)

  7. I think I will have to give this a go, you spotted so many interesting things, love the lichen, its something I would overlook, but its quite pretty, isn't it?
    We are lucky that we have a good size pond and often have dragon/damselflies visit, I have to admit I've never really tried to find out what they were, but I will next time I see them.
    The scarlett pimpernel is pretty
    Great photo of your Ecological Surveying Dogs!!!
    Hope the book arrived, looking forward to your weekend moth photos, have a good one

    1. Good luck- you will find more than you expect I'm sure. I've done a wider survey today and came back with almost 300 different species :-)

  8. I've been away from blogging for a few days so I'm just catching up with your recent posts. I loved this. There are so many fascinating things to discover in a garden at this time of year.
    The Blackbird chick is gorgeous.

    1. I've counted 299 species already this year, including those I have planted. The moths will more than double that number by the end of the year and I suspect insects and other wild plants will increase in numbers too. It'll be interesting to see how the number changes over the years, esp when we get the wild flower meadow established. ps- thanks for recipe :-)

  9. How lovely to see the blackbird chick. Too windy here for anything to stay still enough to photo and the rest is hiding in the hedges hoping for some stillness.

    1. It's pretty blowy here too. I've been out trying to survey flutters, which was a hopeless task :-) Will try again tomorrow.

  10. I always enjoy hearing about your bee rescues ~ to see him on your finger was also quite fascinating !


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x