Week 2 of 30 Days Wild - Hogs, bugs and lots of night walks

Ali North

Our Hedgehog Officer Ali tells us about week 2 of The Wildlife Trust's 30 Days wild campaign, and the random acts of wildness she's been enjoying.

Now well into week 3 of the Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild campaign, I thought I would share some of my daily acts of wildness for week 2 with you. You can read all about week 1, here. Have you been getting involved? It’s never too late to join in! The campaign aims to get everyone outside enjoying nature every day of June (and beyond). We’re out of paper packs, but you can still get electronic packs full of tips and ideas, here.

The evening of day 8 was spent on a mission: to find glow worms. Myself, Wild Learning Officer Lucy and our friend Jess headed to Pipers Vale, a Local Nature Reserve and County Wildlife Site on the edge of Ipswich. We were excited to be greeted by stag beetles zooming around, their huge antler mandibles stretched out in front of them and their wings vibrating full pelt. Bats dove up and around our heads as we lay on the grass watching them, before heading to Landseer park to see if we could find any glow worms there (no such luck this time!) Glow worms are in fact beetles but are mysterious creatures –  help better understand them by adding your sightings to the UK Glow worm survey website, here. Stag beetles are also magnificent beetles and are undergoing concerning declines. Tips to help them can be found here and sightings can be logged on the People’s Trust for Endangered Species survey here.

Day 9 – I headed to one of my favourite spots in Ipswich for a few hours and climbed a VERY impressive oak tree. I took some time to inspect the bark and see what I could find, and came across an especially old gnarled knot that was packed full of woodlice lurking in the crevices. Every now and then a number of them would scuttle out to the other side of the knot and it would seem like the whole tree was alive with small crawling critters! It’s amazing what you can find once you start looking, and oaks are an excellent example of this. Oaks can support hundreds of species; insects, mosses, liverworts, fungi, lichen, birds, mammals. Why not find your nearest oak and see how many species you can find?

Dock bug

Ali North

Day 10 – an evening stroll along the river resulted in meeting this chap, a lovely dock bug, as well as bees, butterflies and a lady bird larvae clambering across the bench I was sat on. The river path was buzzing with life. You can bring that buzz to your garden with our tips for encouraging invertebrates here and here.

Day 11 – a day in the office called for a lunch time break sat amongst the grass to observe the birds and bees.We were lucky enough to spot a house sparrow entering its nest in the office roof with a caterpillar, likely feeding its young!

Day 12 – An early morning to check my garden moth trap! This is the first night it’s been on for the year so I was pleased to find several species, including one that I’ve never seen before, the Bird’s Wing. This here is a garden carpet, the first one I found as I opened the trap! We have over 2500 species of moth in Britain, compared to less than 70 butterfly species. Our amazing moths are undergoing declines, which is a huge concern because they are an essential pollinator and prey item for many other species. Their caterpillars are crucial for breeding birds and a key part of the hedgehogs diet.  Why not have a go at seeing how many moth species you can find in your garden? Light or sugar lures can be really easy and fun to make. Tips can be found on our website, here and here.

Hedgehog in torchlight

Ali North

Day 13 – the early hours of the morning were spent on a torchlight survey in the centre of Ipswich. It was a beautifully clear night and the sky was full of stars. We were excited to have 2 sightings of hedgehogs, and 4 sightings of fox, including cubs! One of the hedgehogs was munching on a big fat slug so we were sure to quickly note it’s location on our map and leave it to its dinner. Remember to let us know about your hedgehog sightings on our online map, here.

Day 14 – Whilst surveying in the early hours our hedgehog volunteers came across a tawny owl chick perched in a tree. It was a massive ball of fluff with very large eyes – a great end to our second night of torchlight surveying! Can you spot it?

Tawny owlet

Ali North