Nature Notes: August 2022

This month has been all about water and the importance of making sure that as well as ourselves we keep the creatures in our gardens hydrated this summer. With the unprecedented growth spurt a lot of our plants seem to have had in the last month or so there has been a greater demand for water from them and I have noticed some plants (particularly our mint) becoming visibly wilted in a matter of hours. So out I have gone with the watering can (no hoses allowed!) and spot watered the pots each evening – this has had a benefit for the insects that live amongst the pots and I have seen a number of the congregating at the run-off from these sessions.

We have also had two water baths filled and out on our garden table for the birds to use as and when they need – we have had some visitors in robins, blackbirds and squirrels (although they are currently mainly pelting our car and back garden with hazelnuts from the trees that surround our home). The feeders will be going back up in the next month or so ready to get the birds and squirrels used to where the food is again for the winter (a tip I was taught many years ago which helps the animals when it counts!).

Aside from the watering we have managed to pick all of the blueberries from the bushes and have now started taking blackberries from the hedgerows outside our home which is great as they are one of my favourite berries. Sadly, the honeyberries may have gotten some mildew and so have been quarantined whilst I treat them – still no fruit either.

One thing I have been doing for the last couple of months is documenting the wildlife I am seeing when I am out and about: I am using an app called iNaturalist which is free and allows you to upload images of flora or fauna and you can use the analyser to record what it is you have found. This is usually (with most programs of this type) a hit or miss affair but the app allows other users to identify these images also – when a consensus is reached, they go to a repository where they can be used in research by institutions all over the world. As someone interested in research and the natural world, I like the idea of being able to help out by uploading some photos via an app – it also means I can get identifications of what I am looking at!

~ M

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