Yorkshire-wide wildlife count calls for people to stand up and take notice of nature

by Handy Mag

The Great Yorkshire Creature Count takes place 15th and 16th June, and encourages people to spot, count and record local wildlife – starting with a list of 30 creatures great and small.

The Great Yorkshire Creature Count is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a weekend dedicated to wildlife close to home.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s wildlife census on 15th and 16th June encourages people across Yorkshire to delve, search and look all around for creatures in their gardens and local green spaces.

Taking part in the Count is fun, free and easy to do, and everyone can take part no matter how big or small your green space is. Sign up and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will provide everything you need, including a starting list of 30 creatures to look out for, wildlife gardening advice, inspiration and children’s activities. Spend just 30 minutes – as many times as you like – anytime between 12 noon on Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday.

Even better – you don’t even have to know what you’re looking at. Participants who sign up to take part with the free iNaturalist app can just snap a picture of what they’ve found – and iNaturalist’s community of wildlife experts will identify it for you!

Photo by Joanna Richards

Last year’s top species most commonly spotted included harlequin ladybirds, pigeons, common carder bees, blackbirds, grass-veneer moths and snails.

Rachael Bice, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what I can spot in my garden over the weekend – from worms, bees and beetles to birds. As dusk drops in, I’ll be watching the bats and hoping for a hedgehog too. Taking part in the Great Yorkshire Creature Count is more than just a fun way to spend a weekend. Noticing nature and how it’s doing in our gardens and neighbourhoods means more of our best-loved species like hedgehogs, swifts and bees – as well as those often-missed, like insects – get important attention that helps us assess how they are faring. By monitoring 30 species seen right across Yorkshire, we also hope to build up a picture over time of how our wildlife is evolving. We need everyone across Yorkshire to be our eyes, and help to create a wilder Yorkshire.”

Over the past five years, blackbirds have been our most commonly-spotted garden wildlife – closely followed by pigeons and house sparrows. However, as the recent State of Yorkshire’s Nature has proved, it is our most common-spotted species on the rise – whilst the species that make Yorkshire special have started to struggle. As a result, counting what wildlife we see – and don’t see – has become an even more vital way of tracking how our wildlife is faring.

The annual Great Yorkshire Creature Count also helps people find out more about the difference they have made in their gardens. Last April Yorkshire Wildlife Trust launched a Wildlife Gardening Award, with nearly 500 gardens across Yorkshire already having received an award for their wildlife-friendly space, ranging from small backyards to community green spaces, schools and care homes. The Count provides a fantastic way to see the fruits of your hard work – and enjoy the wildlife benefitting as a result. 

It’s really easy to join the Great Yorkshire Creature Count. Just follow these three steps:

1)           Go to https://www.ywt.org.uk/GYCC to sign up and get your downloadable checklist, tips and advice.

2)           On the weekend of the Count, head outside to search for and record creatures on the checklist.

3)           Submit your sightings on our website at https://www.ywt.org.uk/submit-gycc-sightings

You can also join the Count on the the iNaturalist app: https://uk.inaturalist.org/projects/great-yorkshire-creature-count-2024

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