A few months ago I wrote about the pseudoscorpions that lived beneath the bark of a dead tree in my village. Having only seen them immobile in winter, and finally having a bit of free time, I decided on an early-evening wander round the village, to catch up with my pincered friends and see what else was about now summer's here. Rounding the corner I stopped in my tracks:
|Yesterday: habitat. Today: firewood|
|Lesser stag beetle, Dorcus parallelepipedus: a dead-wood species that's just lost its home|
A month ago some friends and I ran the national Garden BioBlitz, which saw hundreds of people up and down the country go out and connect with the wildlife that can be found in virtually any garden. Amongst them were Andrew and his 11-yr-old son Jacob from Hull, whose 50+ species saw Jacob mentioned on Springwatch. Unfortunately it drew the wrong kind of attention as well, and the next week the council delivered a warning: there had been a complaint about 'the presence of weeds and overgrown vegetation on the land' and as 'the tackling of land causing defacement, adversely affecting neighbourhoods, or causing a nuisance' was 'a key priority', the wildlife had to go within 10 days or legal action would be taken.
|The offending garden (photo Andrew Jackson / https://twitter.com/saddlebagbob/status/480267252831629312/photo/1)|
This excessive 'tidying' is a significant part of the decline of British wildlife over the past century. Our wildlife is dying the death by a thousand cuts: they can't survive without those scruffy areas - the brownfield sites, meandering hedges, riverbanks, patches of scrub - are where they live, their highways through the landscape, bridges between eating and sleeping sites, where they take refuge.
Don't be a part of it. Leave the mower in the shed for a change: congratulate the council when they do the same, or complain when they do decide everything would be better as a half-inch stump. Publicise the wildlife on your university campus - make it a feature, not something to be buried at the back of the world's driest 'environmental strategy' document! Take a bit of time to open your eyes to the wildlife that can be present in even the tiniest of spaces and soon you'll learn to appreciate it and - like me last week - get angry when it's taken away from you.