A new challenge: wild garden wildlife 365

The first day of a new year. It feels so clean and fresh, like I’ve been given a book with hundreds of blank, pure white pages just waiting to be filled. This year I’ve decided to fill a few of those pages with wildlife, and more specifically wildlife from my own garden. Big, small, loud or mute they will all be counted. The aim is to record 365 native UK wildlife species (flora or fauna) in 365 days. The rules are simple; if it’s growing in the garden, flies over it, lands in it, is wandering around it, or can be heard in it, it counts towards my WGW365.

I put the trail camera out last night in the hope of getting footage of one of my favourite creatures, a badger, and I wasn’t disappointed. At 3am it trundled through and demolished the brick house that holds just a handful of sunflower seeds for it every night, but it wasn’t the first creature in my 365 list.

That accolade goes to the tawny owl sitting in the trees outside our bedroom window, screeched quietly to itself. I only heard it when the fireworks died down, a few minutes past twelve, but it was unmistakable. Not a loud call, more a mumble under its breath – complaining about the noise.

If you’d like to join me in my challenge, start today, or tomorrow or even next week (there’s still time to catch up!). Every garden, no matter how big or small, has exciting wildlife discoveries just waiting to be made. Don’t worry if you don’t know what they all are, there are hundreds of people online who can help. From the wildlife community identification website iSpot, to Twitter (email me a photo any time at @WildlifeStuff) or a whole host of links provided by @RichardComont at Insect Rambles. Then keep track of all your records by adding them to iRecord. Not difficult to use, developed by @JohnvanBreda, and a great way to share your records with the UK wildlife community (and keep count of your 365).

No recording of the tawny, but the demolishing badger is here…

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The Mystery of the Badger Sett is Solved

I spent most of Friday trying to find out what was happening about the baited badger sett in my previous post.  I “badgered” the police and the council and I eventually got Natural England involved and sent them one of my photos.

They found out that the bait has been put down by a local Ecological Consultant trying to work out if the artificial sett was being used. The blue pellet that I picked up and crushed must have been a very old “plastic” pellet. They have been baiting the sett for many, many months and the pellets eventually degrade and crumble (which makes sense as you wouldn’t want plastic pellets all over the place).  They are thinking of building another artificial sett on the other side of the road…. as someone is having problems with badgers digging in their garden.

So thank goodness it wasn’t poison. I’m really, really pleased. Apparently the consultant shouldn’t have been using blue pellets (he should have used green or yellow) because blue are so easy to confuse with slug pellets! Apparently I even had the Natural England experts confused and the guy I spoke to said it had been a good learning exercise for all of them. No one had realised that the plastic pellets degrade quite so well! I can relax now.