Friday, 17 February 2017

Gardens as nature reserves: “Our message to all garden owners is to see your outdoor space as a small-scale nature reserve – part of a network of gardens that link to make a great big, valuable habitat."

We need to look after our gardens:
Futures Forum: The decline of the British front garden: "There's an environmental cost. Paving increases the risk of flash flooding - instead of grass and soil soaking up moisture, it runs straight off paving and overwhelms drainage systems."

Our gardens are, after all, a haven for wildlife:
Futures Forum: Big Garden Birdwatch: this weekend >>> Saturday 28th - Monday 30th January

The BBC's annual survey of gardens reminds us of these things:

Hedgehogs vanish from British gardens 

Fewer than half of British gardeners saw a hedgehog last year 

Sarah Knapton, science editor 6 FEBRUARY 2017

More than half of Britain’s gardeners did not spot a hedgehog, owl, frog, fox, mouse or bat, in their gardens in 2016, as wildlife experts warn that the once common animals are continuing to decline.

The annual survey by BBC Gardening World Magazine found there has been a further drop in hedgehog sightings as well as a decline in most garden birds, and butterflies.

51 per cent of people said they did not see a single hedgehog in their garden throughout the year, compared to 48 per cent in 2015, even though the warmer weather at the beginning of winter meant that the animals hibernated much later and so should have been visible for longer.

29 per cent of people said they did not see any of the birds on the RSPB’s Red List, which records those which are in most need of protection, including starlings and sparrows. Only 49 per cent saw a starling, down 5 per cent from 2015.

However 60 per cent of the 2,600 people surveyed said they had done something to help the plight of hedgehogs last year such as stopping using slug pellets, or keeping an eye out for the animals before using strimmers or lighting bonfires.

“Gardeners are increasingly acting to help wildlife, but the question is can we do it fast enough to halt this sharp decline in numbers?” said Lucy Hall, BBC Gardeners’ World Editor. “Our message to all garden owners is to see your outdoor space as a small-scale nature reserve – part of a network of gardens that link to make a great big, valuable habitat. Seen like this, every small step you can make to help wildlife really does make a big difference when we all act together.”

The hedgehog figures are particularly worrying because more of the animals should have been present this year. Usually July to September is the peak of hedgehog activity in gardens when young hoglets can also be seen, but activity declines steeply with the arrival of winter.

However hedgehogs were spotted later in the year than usual by the British Trust for Ornithology, (BTO) whose members also look out for the creatures during their annual bird counts.

Claire Boothby, Garden BirdWatch at the BTO, said, “We know that gardens are a useful resource for hedgehogs, which are a nationally declining species. The long-term weekly data collected through BTO Garden BirdWatch allows us to monitor the fortunes of hedgehogs and other wildlife in gardens and assess changes. It will also tell us whether they emerge early or late this coming spring.”

Other creatures which fared badly in 2016 included ladybirds, with sightings down by five per cent in the last year, compared with 84 per cent spotting one in 2016; and only 40 per cent of respondents spotted a peacock butterfly last year, down 4 per cent on the previous year, with small tortoiseshell butterflies faring even worse, with sightings down 6 per cent to 29 per cent.

Hedgehogs vanish from British gardens
gardenersworld.com - practical gardening advice from the experts at Gardeners' World

No comments: