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Newsletter Number 4 - April 2022

 - Gardening for Wildlife - Photo Competition - Spring Butterflies - Life Changing Frogs - City Nature Challenge -
What's Been Happening?
On Tuesday, 29th March we held our Gardens for Wildlife talk, where Wild About Bath Founder, Ann Stuart, delivered an informative talk about gardening for wildlife. The panel later tackled some interesting and varied questions from the audience, and we learned about bees, hedgehogs and embracing mess! Panel member Carol Stone brought with her some handouts including "Just One Thing", which helps us to see that even small actions can make big differences, and how to encourage pollinators. Ann updated us on the growth and successes of the Gardening for Wildlife Scheme, with over 44 local gardens having taken part now. 

If you were unable to attend this talk, we were fortunate enough to have recorded it (below), so you can watch at your leisure!
Wild About Bath: Gardens for Wildlife talk. 29th March 2022
If you haven't yet taken part in our Gardening for Wildlife Scheme, now is the perfect time to do it! This certification scheme awards different levels so you can see how wildlife friendly your garden already is, help you decide where you would like to make changes next and really encourages you to see how effective your actions have been.  You don't need to have a huge garden and sometimes small actions make big differences.  Neighbours can even team up for certification; for example, if you don't have room for a pond but your neighbour does, and your neighbour can't install bird boxes but you can, why not team up?  Making your garden a haven for wildlife but still using it the way you want to can be quite overwhelming, and this scheme really takes the stress out of "where do I start?" and "what next?".

You can easily claim Bronze or Silver certification by filling in the online questionnaire. We welcome requests to visit new gardens in the coming months for Gold and Platinum certification.

Wild about Bath Photographic Competition 2022!

Enter your lovely photos of wildlife in Combe Down, Monkton Combe, South Stoke, and the surrounding area, taken between April and October 2022.

The brief this year is:

‘The Jigsaw of Life – How does the individual plant or animal connect with the whole?’

Description: A photograph of wild plants or animals in their ecosystem illustrating the connections that are needed for life. For example: a caterpillar on its host plant; a flower and its pollinator, or a rotting log and the fungus that feeds on it, to illustrate the interconnections in nature and how interdependent everything is, including ourselves.

You can read more about this fabulous competition here.

Spring Butterflies

After seemingly endless months of grey, the sun is finally emerging, and with it some tentative butterflies – you may have already seen some flutter across your path. Whilst butterflies are gorgeous, playful, and uplifting for the soul, they can be infuriating to identify. They move as they please, often the second before your finger presses the camera button, and they don’t tend to like waiting around for you to count their spots and stripes. I have spent hours over the past few summers running in circles like a mad person (butterfly hunting is very good for your humility), or wading through nettles up to my waist trying to get close enough to identify one while it settles briefly. But a precious moment beside such a lovely creature, and the photo, or satisfying ‘tick’ in the guide book you can take home are well worth the scratches and stings.

What butterflies might you expect to see at this time of year? How can you identify them? Read more on the Guide to Spring Butterflies, by Abby Button...
Red Admiral Butterfly - by Abby Button

Reptiles and Amphibians

Spring also means our reptiles and amphibians have started to wake up.  Perhaps you've spotted frogspawn in your pond, rescued a migrating toad from a road, found a slow worm in your compost heap or a grass snake basking in the sun? Laura Sheppard discusses Life Changing frogs over on our website. Meanwhile, across the country many people have been volunteering for their nearest Toad Patrol, saving toads from certain doom as they cross roads to reach their breeding ponds. If you know of a road or even cycle path with many toad casualties this year, maybe consider setting up your own local Toad Patrol for next year!

Avon Reptile and Amphibian Group have shared that they are looking for reptile survey sites in the areas surrounding Bath including Combe Down, Monkton Combe, South Stoke and Midford (though welcome other suggestions). These areas contain lots of good quality reptile habitat but are somewhat lacking in reptile and amphibian records. If you know of any site that may contain wild reptile populations or at has good potential habitat then please email:
Common frog - by Cat Baker

City Nature Challenge

April 29 – May 2
City Nature Challenge is an epic, global citizen science project to collect information about our local wildlife. In 2022 UK cities are collaborating with 400+ cities across the world to find and record as much wildlife as possible to help track how nature is bouncing back this spring!  Bristol and Bath team up as one, and it's as simple as downloading the iNaturalist app and seeing what's in your garden, local park and street.  You can read more about iNaturalist and how to get started here on our website.
Upcoming Events
You are now able to book for events using Eventbrite if you follow the links. The outdoor walks have small numbers so it may be good to book early, but let us know if you are not able to come so your place could be made available to someone else.
Moths, Wormeries and Cowslips
We will see what spring moths have been caught in the live trap and admire, identify, photograph them and then release them safely. We will look around the garden to see various sustainable practices in action while having a cup of coffee, and then we’ll walk down the path to a field with a variety of trees and wildflowers including cowslips. There is a short uphill walk to return. Register to attend HERE

Early Purple Orchid Walk
Early purple orchids should be out along with bluebells and other woodland flowers in Conkwell Woods on 30th April. James Bradby will be our guide. Register to attend HERE

Morning Bird Song Walk
Breeding birds will be singing their hearts out by 1st May and the Millennium viewpoint in Southstoke is a great place to see and hear them. You can register to attend HERE

More events will be posted on the website as the dates are finalised.

We hope you continue to enjoy spring, and that the weather will warm up again soon!

- The Wild About Bath team
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