Wild visitors continue to flock to county

WILDLIFE visitors continue to call into Northumberland gardens, with bats the most common guests, a survey has shown.

The RSPB’s summer wildlife survey, Make Your Nature Count, has shown that more than 40 per cent of those taking part in the county reported bats regularly visiting their gardens.

And they were twice as likely to be seen in rural gardens than urban plots, with wildlife-friendly gardens, with plenty of shrubs and trees, proving particularly attractive.

Frogs were regularly seen in more than a quarter of the Northumberland gardens, and toads in 11 per cent.

Toads were twice as likely to be found in rural gardens as urban ones, but frogs were evenly spread.

People with ponds were three times more likely to have frogs, twice as likely to see toads and eight times more likely to have great-crested newts, but in some cases this may be that ponds make the animals easier to spot.

RSPB scientist Mark Eaton said: “It’s fantastic that so many people in Northumberland are seeing such a variety of wildlife and whilst some of our favourite species seem to have had a good year, we’d urge everyone to keep doing all the fantastic things they are doing to look after these creatures.

“There’s no doubt that wildlife-friendly areas have an impact on the creatures that visit your garden, and things like ponds, water features and long grass are great assets and will help attract all kinds of wild visitors.”

The survey ran throughout the UK from June 4 to 12 and more than 50,000 gardens were involved.

In Northumberland, 43.2 per cent of respondents reported bats in their gardens, 28.6 per cent reported frogs, 27.1 per cent saw hedgehogs, 11.3 per cent recorded toads, 4.2 per cent reported badgers and 0.9 per cent noted great-crested newts.