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Nature Journaling Pollinators.

Do you know your pollinators?



This month on my Patreon Nature Journaling Community we are looking at the subject of pollination and nature journaling pollinators.



In the nature journaling tutorial you can see what I use in my ‘Outdoor nature journal’ kit, I give tips and a drawing tutorial on how to sketch pollinators outside, making quick sketches in an outdoor journal, and discuss why this is important.


The subject was partially inspired by an encounter at my local Community garden and a CItizen Science project.


Whilst volunteering at my local Community Garden I happened to be working near a huge bank of Blackberry briar.  I noticed this year how huge the flowers were on the Blackberry, and was admiring the beautiful dusky pink. When I noticed a flash of emerald green.  The flowers were absolutely covered with Thick-legged flower beetles or Oedemera nobilis in Latin .  They get their name due to the males having wonderful green bulging knees/thighs. Oedemera, the genus comes from the Greek oidein to swell + mēros thigh. They feed on pollen and visit a range of open flowers, including Blackberry and Ground Elder, making them excellent pollinators.




The following week we took part in the Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts #greatyorkshirecreaturecount.  It seemed like a great opportunity to document what creatures were living in the garden and contribute to the Citizen Science project.


We spent 30 minutes observing and documenting what we saw.  You can find the full list here.  An amazing list of species to count in such a short space of time.  What struck me was not only the diversity and interesting creatures we found, but that a lot of the insects were pollinators. 




You’ll notice that these aren’t what we usually think of as pollinators, there were only a couple of bees that we think of as pollinators (bumblebee and honey bee), and no butterflies.  But these small insects that we might not notice, or give any thought to are an important part of the ecology of the garden, and important pollinators.  In turn they provide food for birds, and mammals.


Have you noticed many bees or butterflies this year?



For the July tutorial I wanted to film myself sketching pollinators outside.  We live in a suburban area, but have a very wild garden. We have a large section of long grass and wildflowers. Over several days I went outside with my sketchbook and camera and I couldn’t find a single pollinator!  Not a single bee on a flower. This seemed strange and slightly worrying. I have hardly seen any bees or butterflies this year. I am outside most days, and have seen no more than 10 butterflies! I don’t know the reason why, could it be the cold, wet year we’ve had? Increasing climate breakdown?.

It made me realise how precious these unassuming creatures, beetles, wasps, and flies at the Community Garden were. A precious part of our cycle that we need to protect and allow to flourish. Pollinators are most at risk from loss of habitat, if there are no flowers, there are no pollinators.

So who are your unsung pollinators? Have you got some unusual ones that you wouldn’t think of? Have you noticed a difference this year?  Why not spend 30 minutes on your patch and see who turns up.



The day after filming my tutorial a special visitor appeared in my kitchen. An Elephant Hawk Moth! Another unsung pollinator! 

I spent a wonderful couple of hours with this moth, sketching, whilst it sat still on my table in the garden.


Moths are nocturnal and specialise in pollinating flowers that open at night.


I got my footage of sketching a pollinator! There will be a special bonus ‘Elephant Hawk Moth’ video for my patrons in July.


I feel I owe it to this wonderful moth, and all the other unsung pollinators.  Take care of them, before they are all gone.

If you’d like to learn more about Pollination, different pollinators and learn how to sketch them in an outdoor journal consider learning with me at my Patreon Nature Journaling Community.


*the font in the images is my own writing in calligraphy, written with handmade shaggy ink cap ink.

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Thank you for a lovely post, Angela. How wonderful to see and spend time with the elephant hawk moth💕


I have not seen many butterflies on my patch so far this summer, but I went for a walk off my patch at the weekend and saw a lot of specked wood butterflies there. Also saw a burnet moth and a soldier beetle. I will spend some time on my patch to see who turns up🥰

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raspberrythief
raspberrythief
3 days ago
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Hi Solveig. Sorry I've only just seen your comments. It has been so quite here for butterflies too, not enough sunshine. I saw lots of Burnet moth this morning taking advantage of a dry spell, they're such a beautiful colour.


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