Common or Garden Sightings

We are inviting the public to record their sightings of some key species

Following the success of the Common or Garden project, we are giving you four new species to record this summer! Once again, we need your help to record six common, but under-recorded species that you may see in your gardens and around West Wales.

We have chosen six species which are included in the Section 7 list the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.   This is a list of the living organisms that are of key significance to sustain and improve biodiversity in Wales. Help us gather more information about these species in order to determine whether their numbers are increasing or decreasing.

Have you seen these species?

Blood-vein Timandra comae

Blood-veined moth

Garden Tiger moth

Garden tiger moth

House Sparrow

House sparrow

Hedgehog

Hedgehog

Common lizard

Common lizard

Stag Beetle

Stag beetle

Here’s some information to help you find the Common or Garden species!

Blood-vein Moth (Timandra comae)

The Blood-vein moth is a dayflying moth which can be easily spotted or disturbed in long grass and damp places including hedgerows, ditches, wet meadows, gardens and woodland rides. An attractive buff coloured moth, it’s wingspan ranges between 23 – 28mm. When resting, the moth holds its wings open and flat to show off its characteristic reddish-brown line across its hind and fore wings. It has two generations which fly from May to July, and August to September.

Garden Tiger Moth (Arctia caja)

The Garden Tiger moth was once a common species in gardens around the UK, however, in recent years it has been in decline. It can be seen in a wide range of rather open habitats, including gardens, damp meadows, fens, riverbanks, sand-dunes and open woodland. A charismatic moth, it has a brown body and white wings with brown cow-spots, when disturbed it flashes its orange underwings with vivid blue-black spots. It can be seen basking and flying during the day between July and August. Its larvae, known as ‘woolly bears’, are black-orange and hairy, they can be seen from August to the following June.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

House Sparrows are noisy and sociable, they mob feeders and exploit man’s rubbish for food. They have managed to colonise most of the world, however, like most British birds, they are declining in the UK. They live in colonies and nest in crevices in buildings, among ivy or other bushes, and in nest boxes; they use a variety of materials to make their nests. Both sexes incubate their eggs, and typically have 3 – 5 eggs in a brood. Male house sparrows are streaky brown above and grey below. They have chestnut wings with white wingbars, a black bib and a grey cap. Females and juveniles are a drab brown. Tree sparrows look similar to male house sparrows but have a brown crown and a black spot on each cheek.

Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

Hedgehogs are one of Britain’s most loved mammals. Since the year 2000, the population has declined by a third, which makes recording sightings even more important. They are generally solitary, non-territorial, and nocturnal. A hedgehog is wide-ranging and can travel up to 1-2km a night, with urban range sizes involving many different gardens. For more information on how to make your garden hedgehog friendly, go to https://ptes.org/campaigns/hedgehogs/help-hedgehogs-in-your-neighbourhood-2/.

Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

Living up to its name, the Common Lizard is the most common and widespread reptile in the UK. They can be found in almost any habitat, most often seen on commons, heaths, moorland, dry stone walls, embankments and sea cliffs. In your garden you can find Common Lizards basking on log piles or stones in sunny spots, close to dense cover exits. Common Lizards are usually 15cm in length, nose to tail, and are brown with patterns of spots or stripes. Similar species include newts; however, lizards have scaly or rough skin, and tend to move quickly when disturbed, newts have smooth skin and are slow on land. Female Common Lizards ‘give birth’ to inch-long lizards in August as they incubate their eggs internally.

Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus)

The Stag Beetle is very rare in South and West Wales; however, we would like you to make a special effort to record this species if you see it! Not to be confused with the Lesser Stag Beetle, which is more common in this area, the Stag Beetle has the characteristic antlers. The Stag Beetle is also bigger, around 35mm – 75mm, which makes it the UK’s largest beetle.  It has a very short lifespan as adults can’t feed on solid food – they rely on the fat reserves built up whilst developing as a larva. Stag beetles live in woodland edges, hedgerows, traditional orchards, parks and gardens.

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