Regular readers of Nature's Home might know of my passion to see as many species of UK wildlife as possible. Every issue I set the challenge for nine species to track down each season, ranging from garden wildlife to some tricky rarities and scarcities which will require a bit of travelling (and luck!).
3,500 species and counting
It has been what i'd describe as an "on time" spring with many things appearing when they should, which certainly helps plan your wildlife trips! This month, I've pushed through the 3,500 species seen and identified in the UK. Hooray! One of the techniques I use to help me identify things is to snap them on my phone and identify them using my library of nature books (which my wife would love me to slim down!) and great online resources, such as Naturespot. This is great for bugs, beetles, spiders and plants. I also take the occasional shot on the phone when showy other wildlife is posing, so here are a few below.
Not just about the numbers
Not necessarily "new", but absolute must-see iconic UK wildlife have also featured prominently in my superb spring. Also on my hit list were seeing as many adders as I could, plus all of the UK's reptiles. I'm pleased to say I managed to see them all in a day and a trip to RSPB Arne to meet Rob Farrington got me up close and personal with a smooth snake - thanks Rob! I had some phenomenal adder-watching days (with a memorable trip producing more than 40 individuals!) and a visit to Cricklade North Meadow in Gloucestershire produced 500,000 snakes-head fritillaries (as featured in Nature's Home Summer 2015). One of the best wildlife sights I have seen anywhere.
I've even managed to add a few new birds to my UK lifelist with Hudsonian godwit, harlequin duck, citril finch and little bustard - extreme rarities all - pushing me up to the (nearly) 500 mark! The next few weeks are all about getting my head into the beautiful borders here at The Lodge to see what is lurking there. Do come and visit the reserve if you can - you'll be amazed at the variety of life.
Pasque flower, one of thousands, on a south-facing slope back in April.
A legless lizard - the slow worm, caught basking in a bracken patch.
Some of the half a million snake's-head fritillaries at Cricklade North Meadow. Gorgeous flowers.
Smooth snake at RSPB Arne - one of my "most wanted"!
"Two-headed" adder basking in the early spring sunshine.
How's your spring going?
I'm gearing up for a trip to Lancashire this coming weekend for some of our rarest plants and I hope a bit of sun will enable a bit of butterfly-watching, too.
How's your spring been? Let me know by posting a comment, or by contacting the magazine direct: firstname.lastname@example.org