There are numerous surveys of different sorts of wildlife going on at present. If you can help with any of the following, it would be much appreciated. Some only need simple answers sent via a letter or the Internet. Others need a little more work.
The chytrid fungus, a disease which attacks amphibians, has been discovered among natterjack toads in Cumbria. The Herpetological Conservation Trust would like people to report any dead or dying frogs, toads or newts to them on 01202 391319.
There is also a survey entitled Bugs Count, which I have put on a separate page:
1. The Harlequin Ladybird Survey
Members may remember the fascinating talk the Society had in June 2006 about ladybirds, when Peter Brown told us about the invasion of an alien species, the Harlequin Ladybird, so-called because of its very varied appearance. A website has been set up for people to notify sightings of Harmonia axyridis, which they describe as 'the most invasive ladybird on Earth'. That this matter is being taken very seriously is shown by the fact that the project is being funded by a coalition of the National Biodiversity Network, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. The map on the website shows how very quickly the ladybird has spread throughout the country since its first sighting.
This survey is also continuing, and it is very important to notify sightings if our native ladybirds are to survive. It is imperative to know how far the "invaders" have spread. (See also the next Survey.)
2. UK Ladybird Survey
This project is funded by the same bodies as the Harlequin Ladybird Survey, and also involves the Biological Records Centre, the University of Cambridge, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (where Peter Brown works), and Anglia Ruskin University. Its aim is to 'facilitate the recording of all the UK's ladybirds. It includes information on how to identify the 46 species of ladybird found in the UK, of which only 26 are readily recognisable. The 2006 report is available.
3. People’ s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)
The PTES carries out many survey, usually in co-operation with some other charity, such as Royal Holloway, University of London, the Hedgehog Preservation Society, The Mammal Society and Natural England. Surveys run at different times of the year and may not be held every year. Further information about any of the surveys can be found by phoning 020 7498 4533 or on their website http://www.ptes.org/surveys
(i) Great Nut Hunt, 1993, 2001 and 2009.
Dormice gnaw neat round holes in hazel nut shells, leaving characteristic tooth marks, whereas other animals, such as mice and squirrels, leave different marks. This is the basis of the Hunt, which asks volunteers to search for discarded nut shells in autumn and winter and send them in for identification.
(ii) Hedgerows for Dormice, since 2009.
This survey aims to map the quality of hedgerows around known dormouse sites. A licence is required to handle dormice, but help can be given in other ways.
(iii) HogWatch, since 2005.
This survey has produced possibly the largest set of records of a single species ever collected over a short period of time, and the results are used to build up a distribution map of where hedgehogs are found across Britain. Records are still collected online.
(iv) Living with Mammals, since 2003.
This survey aims to follow long-term population changes and to identify the sites and habitat features that support the greatest diversity of wild mammals.
Sightings are recorded during April, May and June and PTES needs volunteers to look out for mammals in spare moments each week, at sites such as gardens, allotments, cemeteries and parks, whether you are walking the dog, getting a breath of fresh air from work or looking out of your kitchen window.
(v) Mammals on Roads (originally the National Hedgehog Survey), since 2001.
Volunteers record sightings of mammals on road journeys of 20 miles or more along single-carriageways, allowing population trends in the wider landscape to be identified. Continued monitoring to determine long-term trends is a vital part of conservation efforts to protect threatened species. Since June 2011 an iPhone App is available for this survey from the Apple App Store.
(vi) National Dormouse Monitoring Programme, since 1988.
The NDMP collates data from licensed monitors and their assistants surveying over 200 sites across the country gathering long-term data about dormouse abundance, annual variation in timing and success of breeding, and population density in different areas and habitats.
(vii) Otter Survey, starting 2009.
Although otters are showing signs of recovery, 66% of sites surveyed during 2000-02 still showed no signs of otters. This will be the fifth national otter survey and will attempt to look for otters in all the 10 km squares throughout the country.
(viii) Traditional Orchard Survey, since 2006.
The survey aims to create an inventory of traditional orchards in England. Volunteers are needed to record species and the number and condition of the trees.
4. Mini Mammal Monitoring.
Volunteers will be allocated a 1 km square of land local to them, which they will be asked to survey. There are five different survey methods to choose from, and volunteers can select whichever suits their level of expertise or experience. Participation can be through either a local mammal group or as an individual.
For details and to express interest in taking part, call The Mammal Society on 02380 237 874, write to them at 3 The Carronades, New Road, Southampton, SO14 0AA, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Plant Invaders
The charity Plantlife International has been surveying invasive plants, with particular emphasis on aquatic plants. If you see any of the problem species in the wild, they would like details of where they were seen. They also encourage people to ask retailers to stock native, non-invasive species and to label plants properly, and above all not to buy invasive species or throw them out where they could take root in the wild. The Plantlife website has further details and a list of alternative plants for the pond.
6. Humming-bird Hawk-moth and Painted Lady Survey
2008 was a very bad year for butterflies and moths on the whole, coming after another bad year in 2007. Nevertheless, over 1000 sightings of these two species were notified to Butterfly Conservation's online survey. The survey continues in 2009, and sightings can be logged at Butterfly Conservation's website:
7. Garden Moths Count
Since 2006 Butterfly Conservation has been running ‘Moths Count’, the largest single project they have ever undertaken. As an offshoot, from 20 - 28 June this year, they are setting up a new project, ‘Garden Moths Count’, a nation-wide survey to discover which moths live in our gardens. Anyone can take part, using simple methods to attract moths, then tell Butterfly Conservation which species you found, via their website:
8. British Waterways Wildlife Survey
This is an annual survey to identify what lives on our rivers and canals. This year (2011) the spotlight will be particularly on bats, whose numbers have declined dramatically since the 1950s. Canals and hedgerows act as green corridors, by creating sheltered passages through open farmland. This allows bats, and many other species, to travel safely between feeding grounds. To take part in the survey, take part in a guided bat walk, or to download a guide to wildlife on waterways, visit: