Wednesday 25 March 2020

Back Yard Safari

Feeling bored yet? If you're missing the big wide world outside of your front door, go out of the back door instead. There's another, even more wonderful world, in the back garden. Whether it's a beautifully manicured lawn with regimented borders, or looks a bit like a bombsite, there's a host of interesting creatures out there waiting to be investigated. Birds, bats, butterflies; molluscs, mice and moths; the list is almost endless. As I proved, from a hospital balcony a few years back, you can be a naturalist anywhere. See How To Be A Naturalist, Anywhere

Small mammals, amphibians and reptiles are great favourites and there are a number of ways in which you can observe these. A small garden pond will often attract frogs and toads, as well as providing a source of water for other creatures. A bird feeder will attract a host of garden birds, but if you can't get out to buy wild bird seed at the moment, a simple platform with household scraps (fruit is a favourite) will bring them in. A small mammal trap is best for things like mice and shrews but an alternative is to bury a bucket in soft earth, bait it with something tasty, then cover it with wood, propped up about an inch at one end. You will probably also get a fair few snails. If your finances run to a camera trap, then you can get photos of some great nocturnal creatures as well, like this Stone Marten who visited my bird table one night.

My own personal passion is, as you probably know by now, the insect world. Did you know that there are about thirty different orders of insects and hundreds of different families making up those orders? About five years ago, I wrote a post giving a quick run-down on how and when those insect orders evolved. I ended the post with this picture of twelve of the most common orders that you are likely to find in your back garden. See Whiffling through the Woodpile – a short history of insects

This proved to be a very popular post and eventually led to me writing The Quick Guide To Creepy-Crawlies which not only gives pictures and easy descriptions of twentytwo of those insect orders (in both their adult and juvenile states), but also pages of molluscs, myriapods, isopods and all the other creepy-crawlies that you are likely to find in your garden. Suitable for adults and children alike, I am putting it on special offer (a third off, except in the USA where a minimum price applies) until the end of April. So, order a copy, take your camera or phone out of the back door, photograph what you find, and identify them when the book arrives. Congratulations! You've just got yourself a new hobby!

Was £14.99      $17.31      16.14

Now £10.00      $16.48      €11.52

Due to a technical problem at facebook, many people did not see last week's post. If that includes you, you can read it here: It's a Small World (microscpically small – all about the unseen world of Archaea, Bacteria and Viruses).

Crete Nature Catch-up

The Eggs of Saramova
A science fiction novella for those who don't like science fiction. A fast-paced thriller that is, literally, out of this world (and it starts right here in Crete).
The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies
All you need to know to identify any type of insect, spider, worm or snail very simply and find out more about it.
Not Just For Twisted Women by Steve Daniels 
A light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the fairer sex.
See sample pages of all my books and latest blogs and keep abreast of latest publications here:

Share your nature thoughts, photos and comments on Naturalists (the facebook page that accompanies this blog)

Explore the region with the #CreteNature interactive Hiking and Nature Map


  1. I have a small gravel postage stamp of a garden next to an asda, still seen migrating waders in the moonlight and sparrowhawks drifting over

    1. It doesn't take much space to observe the wild!


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