With the lockdown here to stay for a while, one way to escape the news and the feeling of cabin fever is to escape into your garden or to a local park on your allocated exercise. Even daydreaming out of the window; nature provides a great form of escapism.
In this post I will be pointing some things to look out for or things you can do to give nature, and yourself a helping hand.
Set up a PitFall Trap.
Pitfall traps are a great thing to do if you have kids, and even if you don’t!
You don’t need any special equipment, you don’t even need a wildlife guide if you don’t have one. There are many useful websites online to help you identify any critters you may find.
All you need is:
– A trowel/spoon to help dig a hole
– A clean yoghurt pot or plant pot
– A tray to empty out the traps.
– Chicken wire
First of all it is probably best to check the weather, try and do it on a dry night, you don’t want any of the bug and beetles you may find drowning.
On your chosen day, pick a variety of areas in your garden that have good vegetation cover – bugs prefer to be hidden than on open ground. Plus, you will increase the likelihood of finding different species of invertebrate.
Dig a hole in the soil and place your yoghurt pot in it. Fill in the space surrounding the pot. You need to make the hole level with the ground so the invertebrates fall in!
Cover with mesh or a ‘roof’ of some sorts to stop any larger animals from falling in.
The next day, empty the pots into a tray and see what you can find. Take your time as a lot of critters such as Springtails are only a few millimetres long.
Once you have finished and identified all you can, return all invertebrates from where you found them and return the ground back to normal.
Take part in BBC Springwatch #wildlifefrommywindow.
As we are now limited to the places we can visit, it doesn’t mean we are totally missing out on the explosion of life which is spring.
With this in mind, BBC Springwatch have launched a new social media campaign to encourage people to keep an eye out for any wildlife that may show up. And with less human traffic about, there might even be some amazing wildlife turning up. You might even get a herd of wild mountain goats!
In all seriousness, this is a great initiative to keep you entertained and relaxed. It takes you away from the current situation and makes you appreciate nature that little bit extra. It’s a win win situation right?!
As have now entered spring look out for the following:
– Breeding or nesting birds, look out for nest material collection. If you have a dog as a pet, leave out some of the brushed out fur for birds to line their nests.
– Newly emerging butterflies and other flying insects. Beeflies (which are not bees at all) are an exciting find and of course the lovely Ladybird.
– Eyes to sky. Swallows have officially arrived in UK and are slowly but surely making their way North. It’s always such a heart-warming time when you see the first swallow of the year. A sure sign that better things are ahead.
– Top up the bird feeders/tables and baths. This is a great way to see what you can attract to your garden. If you build it, they will come. Why not test out your photography skills?
If you have any pent up frustration from being kept in the house, now is the time to channel it for the best.
Here are some ideas if you have any tools gathering dust:
– Build a pond. This doesn’t have to be grand sweeping Capability Brown-esque, it can be as simple as a bucket of water in the corner of your garden. Ponds support a vast amount of wildlife, and will make your garden far more biodiverse, so it’s well worth giving it a chance.
– Build a bug hotel. These can be made really easily. An open fronted wooden box, with bits of bamboo, with the holes facing you, perhaps put in some pine cones and some twigs. It doesn’t have to be pretty, the bugs won’t care, but they will be grateful for the shelter.
– Build a hedgehog house or feeding station (remember no bread and milk please!). Hedgehogs are in dire need at the moment. Populations in Britain have declined by 66% in the past 20 years. They really do need a helping hand. And don’t think that just means checking your bonfires. With hedgehogs now coming out of hibernation, they need to fuel up as much as possible to face the breeding season.
Get Green Fingered!
Plant some bee friendly flowers. This is an easy way to encourage wildlife into your garden, and will make better wildlife watching in the days ahead.
Not to mention that you will be able to pick the flowers and make beautiful bouquets and posies, to bring a little bit of nature and sunshine into your home.
So there you go, a few simple ways to encourage and wildlife in your garden.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, just give it a go. It’s a perfect chance to immerse yourself in nature and reap the benefits for your mental health.
Love Charlotte xx