Last week we took part in the annual “Every Creature Counts Wildlife Survey” at Knoll Gardens with Dorset Wildlife Trust.
The survey provides an important year-on-year record, and offers the opportunity for everyone with an interest in wildlife, regardless of age to get involved and I was relieved to see lots of other children taking part when we arrived.
We arrived to a hive of excitement as a juvenile grass snake had been found sunning itself near a seating area.
We then headed to the survey area to pick up our clipboard and bug pot and headed off to see what we could find.
Our first spot was a stunning chafer beetle on the reeds in the pond and despite my best efforts to catch it for Sebby, it managed to evade my attempts, so he settled for a spider instead.
Finding insects is actually harder than you would think, although we did see lots of honey bees and wasps.
During one of our trips back to the main tent where they were collating the information, we were introduced to one of their bee experts, who took Sebby and I off to learn about the beautiful creatures.
We were shown a Bee House which contained lots of bamboo tubes that provide a place for bees to reproduce and gather pollen and nectar for their young. After laying eggs, the adults die, leaving a new generation to take over. There was also an area of plain soil for mining bees who lay their eggs in dirt.
We had a “bee postcard” which identified different types of bees, although as amateurs we struggled to tell the difference, but Sebby did manage to catch both a male and a female bumble bee which were recorded and then set free.
Taking part in a wildlife survey is a great way of learning all about insects and we found several different species of beetle, spiders and butterfly and even found some wild strawberries growing which were yummy!
In main tent was also a net basket containing moths and cocoons and Sebby got the chance to hold a couple of moths, including this beautiful Hawk Moth……
……and a Black Arches moth.
Knoll Gardens has events running throughout the year and we are looking forward to the Family Garden Wildlife Safari on 17th August which will get the kids out and interacting with the garden’s many wildlife inhabitants as well as its trees and flowers. Depending on the weather, activities could include pond dipping, moth trapping and bug hunting.
Knoll Gardens is just outside Wimborne and clearly signposted from all major routes. Check out their events page for more information about upcoming workshops, which include macro photography and even Yoga!