Changing wildlife revealed
SURVEY results reveal that sightings of our amphibious garden wildlife such as frogs and toads are drying up, with the RSPB calling on people across Cheshire to help them by getting outside this summer to create more ponds and pools in their outdoor space.
Results from the RSPB’s wildlife survey, which is part of the Big Garden Birdwatch, show that frogs had been seen in more than three-quarters of gardens across Cheshire.
Despite being one of the most common non-bird garden visitors, seen at least monthly in over 40% of gardens in the county, this was 15% fewer regular sightings than the last time they were surveyed in 2014.
This pattern was similar for toads which were seen in over 20% of Cheshire outdoor spaces on a monthly basis, an alarming 23% fewer gardens than four years ago. The survey included results from more than 3800 Cheshire gardens.
At a quick glance a nature novice may not be able to spot the difference between a frog and a toad.
A frog’s skin is smooth and moist and they have a pointed nose, whilst a toad’s skin is warty and dry and their noses are rounded – almost semicircular in shape.
Most people remember seeing tadpoles at the local pond or a toad emerging from under a rock while they were growing up – these first experiences with nature stay with us forever.
Unfortunately, the sights and sounds of wildlife that were once common to us are sadly becoming more mysterious.
There are lots of simple things we can all do in our outdoor spaces to make them perfect for wildlife.
Frogs and toads are amphibious creatures meaning that they need a source of water close to their homes to survive.
Creating a small pond in your garden, or a pool using a washing up bowl is so simple to do and could make all the difference.
Other results from the survey revealed a small increase in the number of recorded sightings of hedgehogs.
Despite the UK population suffering widespread declines in recent decades, morer than 65% of people spotted one in Cheshire gardens over the past year.
Foxes remained one of the other most common garden visitors with one being spotted in over 60% of gardens and outdoor spaces in Cheshire, while more secretive creatures such as grass snakes, red squirrels and greatcrested newts escaped much of the county’s gaze.
Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest garden wildlife survey and takes place each year on the last weekend in January.
The RSPB asks people to count the birds in their garden or outdoor space over the course of one hour at any point in the weekend to get an idea of how our feathered friends are getting on.
With the wildlife on people’s doorsteps becoming increasingly elusive, the RSPB is calling on families across Cheshire to spend more time outside this summer, discovering the nature that surrounds them and seeing how they can give it a helping hand.
By taking part in the RSPB’s Wild Challenge, families can have fun, engaging in activities ranging from building a pool for amphibians to bug safaris, taking their first steps on their own wild adventure.
There are 24 activities to choose from that will take you from your own back garden to exploring towns, cities, woodlands and even the coast.
It’s important for every child to get outside and discover nature.
The RSPB Wild Challenge gives families the chance to explore their garden or local area and uncover all sorts of wonderful wildlife that they share their space with.
As well as getting up close to some incredible creatures, you’ll be helping to give nature a home too.
The RSPB’s ambition is for Wild Challenge to help more families across the country reap the benefits of spending time outside in nature.
Research has shown that children who have a healthy connection to nature are more likely to benefit from higher achievement at school, better mental and physical health, and develop stronger social skills.
To learn more about the RSPB Wild Challenge and to see how you can take your firsts steps on your own wildlife adventure, visit the website www. rspb. org. uk/ wildchallenge