Bioblitz - The Results!

Wednesday, August 21st 2013

Almost a month ago Foxglove hosted its very first Bioblitz event, in essence a race to discover and identify as many species as possible over the weekend.  A team of naturalists had been recruited to lead walks and surveys for volunteers and visitors looking at a huge variety of flora and fauna.  In addition to this, Foxglove was host to a Heritage Skills weekend, with local artisan craftsmen demonstrating their skills and encouraging everyone to get involved.

Looking for Lichens

The success of the demonstrations, walks and surveys were all dependant on several factors, not least the dreaded British weather; the two weeks prior had been wall to wall sun with temperatures to match.  We were lucky over the weekend experiencing some sun and warm temperatures, excellent conditions for seeing many of the different animal species that make their home here at Foxglove. 

Emerald Damselflies

After a warm still night, the weekend kicked off with the moth morning producing a record number of moths.  Exactly 200 species were identified, with over 2,200 individual moths in the traps! Fifty three of these were new to the reserve taking the total number of moth species recorded at Foxglove to 475 species.

At the moth traps

Other walks and surveys over the weekend included a bird walk where visitors were lucky enough to hear and see a Grasshopper Warbler.  The fungal foray turned up some Dog Stinkhorn which was deemed edible despite the name; this was then cooked on the BBQ and tasted by a brave few.  One of the highlights of the bat walk, late on Saturday evening was hearing Nightjar ‘churring’  – a very special observation as the species not been heard here since 2007.  A juvenile bird has since been caught and ringed on one of the CES ringing days.

Hard at work in the kitchen!

For many of the children who attended the rope making stall, run by Norman Bush, was a firm favourite.  Many hours were spent learning the skill of lassoing out on the front lawn.  Coracles, traditional Welsh fishing boats, could be seen at times over the weekend bobbing about on the lake, while the Foxglove Bodgers had set up pole lathes in the car park to demonstrate and pass on their newly learned skills.

Pond dipping

The weekend also saw visits from the Yorkshire Fern Group, The Yorkshire Branch of the British Dragonfly Society, and the Leyburn Dry Stone Walling Association.  Tim Helps kindly put his fabulous butterfly collection on display; these specimens show examples of species found across the globe. The accompanying stories were equally as fascinating as the butterflies themselves!

Small Skipper on Marsh Thistle

The surveys uncovered a huge range of species, with many new species for the reserve being recorded.  With records still coming into us it will no doubt be Christmas before we have the final total; as it stands now the total number of species recorded is 623 with the list broken down as follows:

Species Totals:

Amphibians – 5
Birds – 46
Butterflies – 12
Dragonflies – 8
Ferns – 12
Flowers – 99
Fungi – 26
Other Invertebrates – 96
Lichens – 50
Mammals – 15
Moths – 200
Other Plants – 3
Trees – 51
Total: 623

Of course, all of this would not have been possible without the team of naturalists, craftsmen, volunteers and cadets.  We simply don't have space to mention everyone who was involved, however, we are extremely grateful to you all for the time and effort that you put into the weekend making it such a huge success.

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