I find it very hard to love a Cabbage White butterfly but there are many others I enjoy seeing on my allotment. Among my favourites are the four blue butterfly species which are to be found on the ancient chalk grasslands of the Whitehawk Hill Local Nature Reserve along the boundary of our allotment site. These are the Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue and the Small Blue, which is Britain’s smallest butterfly and has the delightful scientific name of Cupidus minimus.
In autumn 2020, two plot holders reported discovering some amazing looking caterpillars happily munching away on plants on their plots. After a bit of research, it turned out that these caterpillars were in fact those of the Swallowtail Butterfly – one of our rarest and most spectacular butterflies, normally only found around the Norfolk Broads and in mainland Europe.
As gardeners, we often think we can avoid the mistakes and replicate the successes we had in the previous year, but is it just me or does nature seems to rarely play ball by such logical reasoning? Every year seems to bring new challenges, new sights, new joys and also a few new disappointments.
A common resident of our allotments are slow worms. Often found in long grass or enjoying the damp warmth of compost heaps, these legless lizards primarily feed on invertebrates and can live up to 20 years old!
30 Days Wild is The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge where they ask the nation to do one ‘wild’ thing a day, every day throughout June.
Random Acts of Wildness can be anything you like – litter-picking, birdwatching, puddle-splashing, you name it! But to help you on your way, The Wildlife Trusts will also provide you with a FREE postal or digital pack of goodies to inspire your wild month – including an activity passport and a wallchart to track your progress.
We are very lucky on our allotment site that we are part of the Whitehawk Hill Local Nature Reserve with its chalk grassland species of plants and insects. This means we can help protect some of these special creatures, including numerous bee species, by providing good habitat to support those living on the rest of the Local Nature Reserve.
It’s quite common to see foxes on our allotments these days – once a denizen of the countryside this attractive bushy-tailed creature, common throughout the Northern Hemisphere, has also come to make towns and cities its home over the last few decades.
One animal that is likely to be living on your plot is the Common Shrew (Sorex araneus) which can make a home almost anywhere but is most commonly found in hedgerows, scrubland, grassland and deciduous woodland throughout the UK.
If you took part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch we’d love to hear what species you saw over the weekend (Friday 29th – Sunday 31st January).
The RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch takes please from Friday 29 – Sunday 31 January. Find out how to take part.