News archive

April 2020

Monday, 20 April 2020

Lockdown Big Day 'Bioblitz' on May 3rd 2020

Lockdown Big Day 'Bioblitz' on May 3rd 2020

This could be a form of bioblitz, where we can all help to survey not just birds but also what other wildlife is visiting our gardens in Croydon. This should all be done in the safety of our own homes and gardens. As May 3rd is officially International Dawn Chorus Day, this seems to be a good day to hold it. Hopefully some people will be up around first light to hear the birds regaling a new day. This is something that people could participate in at all sorts of levels. Many of you may simply wish to note the birds (and perhaps some of the larger mammals and butterflies) you may see while looking out into your garden on odd occasions during the course of the day. Others may choose to get up very early and record every species they can identify by sight or sound from before dawn until going to bed. As it is dawn chorus day, I would appreciate if anyone doing that could add the time on which they first saw/heard each bird species. That way I can ascertain the order in which they wake up. However you decide to do this, I will try to work out who has recorded the most bird species during the day so they can have the accolade of being the Lockdown Big Day champion. But don't worry, all records will be useful.
This will not be a true bioblitz as I am not specifically including plants here (although there are undoubtedly some botanists out there who could put many wild plants on to the list - I know of gardens where native orchids are to be found). However, should you wish to record other wildlife there is a whole host of species and genera to be found. Some of the things you may consider are:
Mammals - eg fox, squirrel, badger, hedgehog, deer, bats, rodents (even brown rat has a place here)
Insects - eg butterflies, moths (anyone out there got a moth trap?), dragonflies, damselflies, bees, hoverflies, ladybirds, bee flies, mosquitoes and more.
Amphibians - frog, toad, newts
Reptiles - slow worm, lizard, snakes
Other invertebrates - eg spiders, wood lice, earwigs, slugs, snails and even earthworms (can anyone identify them to species level?)
The possibilities are endless and, as I said earlier, you can record as much or as little as you like. It could just be 'bees' or 'spiders' rather than specific species. But, please, do take part and make this the biggest one day survey of our garden wildlife. I have attached a form to use on the day and I look forward to seeing your findings. Please email your sightings to johnbirkett@hotmail.co.uk. Please also email me if you would like a Word or Excel version of the form to fill in on your computer.
Should May 3rd turn out to be a very wet or windy day, you may prefer to postpone your participation until May 9th, which would correspond with the eBirders big day

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Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Week 1 of the Croydon Lockdown Bird Watch.

Week 1 of the Croydon Lockdown Bird Watch.

Following government guidelines doesn't mean an end to birdwatching or to enjoying nature. Just simply looking out of a window can give a lot of pleasure and is the best way of keeping safe in these troubling times. To date we have received lists from 23 gardens. Perhaps a little surprisingly, 43 different species were noted during the week. The number of species from individual gardens ranged from 5 up to a magnificent 30 species in the week, with the average number of species per garden being just under 18. The best record was probably the peregrine seen from one house and the overall total was boosted by red kite, sparrowhawk and buzzard all being reported from four gardens. Two gardens were also treated to the calls of atwny owls. Although most of the species recorded were those expected to turn up in gardens, this is still very useful information. Further analysis may help us to understand how the occurrence of common birds in gardens changes as we move from winter into the breeding season. A list showing the species recorded can also be found.
The photo accompanying this article was taken by Vaughan Pomeroy and shows that you may need to check your neighbour's roof - grey herons do sometimes land on buildings and I have seen a pheasant on All Saints Church roof in Sanderstead.

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