With everyone staying close to home, this year the wildlife spotting for the City Nature Challenge has been really urban. If you have more images taken over the weekend, you can still upload them now into iNaturalist and your sighting will be added into the count. Otherwise, it’s time to try and identify all those finds! Let’s see how many we can push to be research grade records.
I suspect we’ve had far more pavement weeds this year than we did last year. Certainly, last year the top three organisms recorded where blackbirds, harlequin ladybirds and wood pigeons. So far this year, our top three are cuckooflowers, Herb Robert and dandelions. Of course, although the weekend of wildlife spotting is over, we’ve now got time to make sure as many records as possible are properly identified, so that list could change.
Happily, although everyone was limited to gardens and short walks, the weather was much kinder than last year allowing us to really enjoy our local wildlife. There have been plenty of bee and butterfly garden visitors and the occasional bird to watch as well as all the plants. If you have enjoyed a weekend of wildlife recording, check out Greater Manchester’s Local Record’s Centre so that you can continue putting nature on the map. There’s also advice from the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside on how to improve your garden for wildlife. Click here to apply for a free downloadable booklet from the My Wild City Manchetser project.
The City Nature Challenge weekend has been popular across the country with over 4,000 people taking part and just under 60,000 observations made. If know of a city or region that would want to take part next year, then get in touch with the organisers. The City Nature Challenge was invented and is managed by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences: https://citynaturechallenge.org/
Last year Greater Manchester competed in the City Nature Challenge for the first time. City Nature Challenge was started by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences in 2016, and it has grown into a world-wide urban nature event. The challenge aims to get people around the world involved in wildlife recording and learning about nature in their local patch. It uses the wildlife app iNaturalist, which is great for people .
This year, however, with the world on lockdown things are a little different. Rather as a challenge with competing cities, this year is a celebration of the nature that we have living all around us. Spending time with nature has been shown to help our mental health, so this weekend, why not join us for the #CityNatureChallenge? Follow social distancing guidelines and try some birdwatching from the windows, spot the spiders in the cupboards, identify the insects visiting the garden or windowboxes, and share the plants you see in your local streets. You can also go online to help identify other people’s finds.
You might just find yourself catching the wildlife recording bug!