Welcome to the place to discover which species have recently been recorded in and around Sheffield and Rotherham.
We hope you’ll be inspired to note down what you spot on your walks or in your garden, and add your information too! Common or rare, record your wildlife sightings and help us build a better picture of the state of nature in Sheffield and Rotherham.
Our species recording page is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of Data for Nature. All records are added to the NBN Atlas, which is used to help inform national environmental policy.
Well it’s probably safe to say that thanks to Covid-19 the last three months have been distinctly different. I hope you’ve all come out of it ok, and have adapted to the changes we’ve all had to make.
Thank you to everyone who took part in our #Backyard Bioblitz! As you probably know, on normal bioblitzes, we would have a team of fabulous volunteers out scouring a specific area for all the species within a particular genus (i.e.dragonflies or newts), but due to social distancing requirements this wasn’t possible. So we asked you to take your citizen science one step beyond while living la vida lockdown!
The challenge was for you to conduct your own bioblitz at home – indoors or out – and let us know what you found; you did not disappoint! We now have some great records of bugs, beetles, bees and butterflies, as well as some great garden bird sightings and even a few mammals.
June started off mostly warm and sunny. For that we were rewarded with loads of butterfly sightings like this beautiful tortoiseshell from Wendy. In fact, Wendy deserves a special mention because as I discovered going through the records to write this blog, she sent in over 100 of them in June alone – a round of applause for that woman! Among the records we received were 15 Hymenoptera (bee and wasp) species, and 18 Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species, as well as 12 different Coleoptera (beetles) species. Later on in the month we began to receive sightings of caterpillars, and we expect this will continue throughout the next month or so.
You can’t have your camera on standby all the time, so when Sarah saw a young mistle thrush in her garden she quickly got a snap of it with her phone – remember all photographs help with identification, they don’t have to be award winning!
Many of you made the most of your daily exercise allowance to take a walk, so even though our surveys were suspended, we had some lovely records coming in from our nature reserves, such as this lovely common spotted orchid on Blacka Moor, sent in by Susan – you can see from the picture she didn’t let the rain stop her getting a daily dose of nature.[picture to follow]
Very pleased to have received records for several red listed birds – that’s species of the highest conservation concern. They include curlew, skylark, tree pipit, yellowhammer, linnet, woodcock, song thrush, mistle thrush and lapwing. And very well done for those of you finding a nightjar – with their effective camouflage they really are hard to spot! We aslo had several goldcrest records (along with the firecrest it’s the UK’s smallest bird – even smaller than a wren). We only have one swallow recorded though – so if you saw one in June do let us know. Talking of birds, there have been several recent reports of a lammergeier in the Peak District close to Sheffield – if you have a confirmed sighting then we’d love you to add it to our records!
We’ll end this edition of the blog with the mammals – we love this screen grab of an inquisitive badger from Gail’s wildlife camera, and just look at the enormous bushy tail of this bold fox Dave caught strolling through his garden!
Finally, this wonderful trio of weasels from Sarah.
Thank you all for taking the time to send in your records. Keep up the good work and stay safe!
We’ve had lots of records sent in to wildsheffield.com/sightings in March– thank you! Every record, from a sparrow to a slug is important for us to assess the state of nature not just across Sheffield and Rotherham but for the country as a whole.
We are living in very unusual times, but no matter the circumstances #YouCantStopSpring! We had our first butterfly records of the season with small tortoiseshell, peacock and comma all making an appearance.
Chiffchaffs, those heralds of spring, have been making their voices heard in Loxley and Bolehills, with blackbirds, blue tits, goldfinch and greenfinch all being spotted across the region. Allen Holmes spotted this short eared owl to the east of the city, and we’re very excited to get reports of hen harrier and marsh harrier!
Our favourite (ok, only) flying mammal made its first appearance in our records in the middle of the month. Catherine recorded a pipistrelle bat in the south west of the area, and Keith Tomkins, the lucky man, has spotted three mountain hares while he’s been out walking. Meanwhile, Mary let us know about this cheeky little mouse munching its way through her bird feeder!
Nature is such a balm for the soul, and it’s everywhere. So, keep those sightings coming in!
January – February 2020
As you’d expect at this time of year, fewer people were out and about recording. Most of the records are bird species, especially the early nesting blue tit which is very visible as it collects nesting material. Other members of the tit family sent in were coal tit, long-tailed tit and a marsh tit (spotted at Porta Brook by our Keith Tomkins).
Other species recorded included fieldfare, gull and robin.
The fungi with the funky names weren’t quite finished either; Nabil Abbas spotted a collared earthstar and a scarlet elfcup at Woodhouse Washlands and Blacka Moor nature reserves respectively.
October – December 2019
The later part of 2019 was amazing for mushrooms. We had a massive 552 records sent in for 128 different species of fungi – shout-out to Neil Barden for 665 individual reports! Many of these were found at Blacka Moor and Carr House Meadows, and there are some fabulous names; beefsteak fungus, candlesnuff, clustered bonnet,fragrant funnel and my personal favourite, the felted twiglet! Less thrilled about the name of the one record for slime mould though; dog’s vomit – charming! Many thanks to Caroline Egglestone for sending in so many great photographs (a small selection below); it’s great to receive these and they can also help us to identify a species if you’re not totally sure of what you’ve found.
Birds weren’t totally absent either, with 36 different species recorded. These ranged from garden birds like the blue tit through to raptors, including several buzzards. Richard Jacques captured this nice photo of a jay, a colourful member of the crow family which likes plenty of mature tree cover nearby.
Mammals were generally less abundant in this season; although we had 51 records, most of these were made up of harvest mice found on the survey at Woodhouse Washlands. The remaining six species were fox, roe deer, red deer, hedgehog, grey squirrel and mink.
There was a late outing for an amphibian though – this common lizard was found at Sick Brook in November!
Finally, a special mention has to go to our nature reserve at Agden Bog – for hosting 36 different species of moss!
The weather picked up for the last part of August, which may be why we had a few more butterfly and insect sightings. Peacock at Lodge Moor, a holly blue at the Botanical Gardens and darter dragonflies at our Kilnhurst Ings nature reserve.
This bounty of invertebrates seems to have brought out the bird life – the holly blue might have been eyed up by this robin, which was also spotted at the Botanical Gardens by Richard Jacques, while a kingfisher was seen at Woodhouse Washlands nature reserve. A great tit sighting has been sent in from Redmires reservoir, and our Data for Nature team were very happy to record a pair of nightjar on a recent bird survey.
September got off to a great start with a sighting of a weasel at Wyming Brook. These fierce little hunters are not afraid of anything – they mostly eat voles and mice but will happily take on prey several times larger than themselves. There’s even one observed instance of a buzzard who snatched up what it must have thought looked like a tasty snack, only to have the weasel turn the tables and bring down the bird!
Yolanda Thompson sent us a record of a hedgehog on the southern edge of the city. Mature females may have mated for a second time, and these late litters can struggle to gain enough weight for hibernation, so leave some suitable food out for them if you see them.
Andrew Waind found this newt in his garden in Crookes, something he’s never seen there before. After photographing it he returned it to the spot he found it. He sent us these great pictures along with his record which will help with confirming the identification.
We love seeing what you’ve discovered on your doorstep, so keep sending your sightings – I can’t wait to see how it changes over the autumn!
Until the next update, Claire.
Well so far August has been a bit of a mixed bag, bringing to mind the old adage “if you don’t like the weather wait ten minutes”!
This looks to have had a bit of an impact on the sightings we’ve been receiving; very few butterflies so far this month, just speckled wood and peacock. However we have had records of a long winged conehead and a Roesel’s Bush-cricket south of Rotherham; both species more commonly found in the south of the country. In fact until the early 20th century, the Roesel’s bush-cricket was was only found on the south-east coast, but there has been a rapid expansion of its range so we can probably expect to see more in future.
Rain notwithstanding, the Rivelin Valley has been the place to see birds – we received this beautiful photo of a grey heron from Richard Jacques, who also spotted a grey wagtail not too far away. The weather has been good for plantlife too – particularly the damp-loving species like hare’s-tail cotton grass, marsh violet and cranberry – all spotted on Blacka Moor.
Did you know…cranberries were originally known as fenberries in England, because they grew in fens and marshy ground?
I’ll leave you with a couple of mammals – a handsome red fox near the fabulously named Wisewood, and this little family of hedgehogs, caught on camera in a garden close to Swallownest.
Keep ‘em coming!
Before the deluge came (will it ever stop?) July had been a great month for butterflies. We’ve had sightings from all over Sheffield – including our own community garden at the Trust HQ in S2. Small whites, tortoiseshells, red admirals all abounded, with green veined whites, gatekeepers, meadow browns, ringlets and comma not too far behind. We even had a record of a holly blue from a butterfly fan called Ben!
A few amphibians sighted recently – mostly frogs and toads, and one reptile; a grass snake, seen at Woodhouse Washlands. Isabel sent us a great picture – please do add any photographs you’ve taken to your sighting, especially if you’re not 100% certain of which species you’ve found – they can help us to verify the record. We also had several hedgehog sightings sent in to us. They’re quite busy at the moment, you might even see hoglets out with their mother on a foraging trip!
With such warm weather it’s been a great time to be on or near water – and it seems the local flora and fauna agree! Sheffield and Tinsley canal has been a very fruitful place to see dragonflies, including the common hawker and golden-ringed dragonfly. We also received a record for the fringed water lily. Despite it’s name and appearance, this lovely water flower is actually related to much less glamorous sounding bog bean!
Finally, get yourself down to the Rivelin river, near the fire station, and you might see the characteristic bob of a dipper as it stands on a rock in the river. Sit long enough and you might even get to see it perform its party trick – walking into and under the water in search of food!
See you soon, Claire.