Spring has well and truly sprung on Exmoor. Slightly later than it did lower down the hill, but we’re well and truly here now. This month we are bringing you some wildlife that you can spot this time of year in Exmoor.
Our frogspawn is all hatched and transformed into wriggling tadpoles and we’ve got some great iNaturalist observations of where the frogspawn was found. This is really valuable data for us. Not just because it gives us great data on the changing climate by comparing when frogspawn is being laid over multiple years. But the location data also highlights important wetland areas being used by these creatures. These are important to look after, not only for frogs themselves but a whole variety of animals which benefit from these areas. Animals use these areas directly for breeding grounds and habitats and also make use of them as part of their food chain. Frogs are a favourite food source for otters and many birds will also be using these areas.
As we journey into summer and enjoy the longer warmer days, we can look forward to the arrivals of swallows (just arrived on Exmoor this week) and soon, swifts and cuckoos will join them. These often fast moving birds are much harder to photograph on your phone for iNaturalist, but you can record and add sounds, which is particularly good for capturing the distinctive cuckoos call.
Somewhat easier to record and capture are wild flowers, they move a lot less, but it’s still helpful to get as much detail as possible. Try taking photos from different angles, and if you can a few close ups. Remember to record not just the flower, but the leaves, stem and overall shape of the plant as well. All these features together can help get a definitive identification. Now is the perfect time to learn about and record all the beautiful flowers in bloom.
If you’ve been inspired to get out into nature, you can share any photos or observations with us and get featured on our social or our newsletter! Send your observations to firstname.lastname@example.org
Join iNaturalist and start identifying nature near you today! LookWild is a brilliant citizen science project that helps contribute to our data and knowledge of wildlife and habitat health across the UK.
This Blog was written by Patrick Watts-Mabbott, at Exmoor National Park.