Archive for May, 2010

Here’s the video of our spider hunt from the Friday night at the BioBlitz.  

Check out Eve’s blog futher back for all the creepy crawly details!

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We are spoiling you, we know that, but here at BioBlitzHQ, we just can’t help it. It’s in our nature… (boom boom tss!)

With the twenty or so videos we have uploaded about the Bristol BioBlitz, and a further 8 to come (!), the videophiles around will be rubbing their tummies with satisfaction, gorging on the visual delight of the medium. However, should audio be your bag, then we have the wonderful people at the Natural Environment Research Council to thank for their excellent audio interviews.

Listen to the musings of experts, such as Ed Drewitt and Pete Dawson, along with members of the public explaining what the event means to them. Also, be sure to check out the testimonials of the volunteers, working hard to ensure that we are doing all we can to make the BioBlitz an event to enjoy and remember.

The interviews can be found by following this link: http://audioboo.fm/BristolBioBlitz

You are more than welcome…

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“The kids couldn’t wait to get their feet wet & discover the treasures of the Blaise stream.  No-one had wellies, but that didn’t stop ’em.  In they splashed, exploring the shallow water with nets, trays & spoons.   Leeches were the number one hit.   Fascinating & foul at the same time.    Other delights were flukes, shrimps, mayfly larvae and even a fish!  On such a hot day, paddling in the stream was the best place to be” – Tania Dorritty

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Peter Martin, the Gloucestershire Bryophyte Recorder for The British Bryological Society, has got in touch with us to give an account of his search for mosses and liverworts around Blaise estate. Read his story below:

The first place I headed for were the limestone outcrops above the stream where I hoped to find some interesting plants.  On the bare rock face were sheets of the uncommon liverwort MacKay’s Pouncewort (Marchesinia mackaii).  When dry it is a black colour becoming dark green when wet.  Creeping over the dark plants were a few stems of the light green Rossetti’s Pouncewort (Cololejeunea rossettiana) – the smallest liverwort of the 300 species occuring in Britain.  This rare plant was last seen in the Bristol region on the Avon Gorge over 50 years ago and today to see this plant other than Blaise you need to travel to Cheddar Gorge or the Wye Valley at Symonds Yat.

Rossetti's Liverwort

The photograph shows Rossetti’s Pouncewort under the binocular microscope creeping over MacKay’s Pouncewort – with a household pin to give an idea of the size.

Peter Martin, 23 May 2010.

A tremendous find by Peter that was one of twenty-three species that would be recorded at the Bristol BioBlitz that were new to Blaise Castle. This shows exactly how important events such as the BioBlitz are for biodiversity! Good work everyone…

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As the first day drew to a close, we had just enough time to catch our breath before the bat walk.  Long enough for a cup of tea, a biscuit and a timelapse.

We couldn’t get too comfy though, with our tally rising there was always more species to count.  The pace quickened on Saturday, and as the hours ticked past the microscopes were a hive of activity. 

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Monday after Bristol BioBlitz and it’s back to normal life for all the volunteers who helped at the event. It was fantastic to see so many people at Blaise Castle and a brilliant species total. This total will go up as more unusual species are identified, which is great news.

Get involved! Bristol Bioblitz 2010

Personal highlights include the finding of great crested newts (a first for Blaise Castle), learning loads about the remarkably interesting world of spiders and mini-beasts (Mark Pajak and Pete Dawson, the naturalists with an enthusiasm for all things bug-based, have really opened my eyes to these amazing species!) and seeing hundreds of children involved, enthusiastic and excited about nature.

Working hard on the Bristol Bioblitz 2010 blog

Savita Custead (Director of the BNHC) with natural history TV star Charlie Hamilton-James

A young entomologist and her find

It was an outstanding event and I can’t wait to take part again next year. Hopefully see you there to find even more species.

Dr Remy Poland hunting for ladybirds with some enthusiastic young entomologists

Ed Drewitt recording his sightings from the dawn chorus

Laura Sutherland, Bristol BioBlitz volunteer, hard at work

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On Saturday afternoon, a young BioBlitz attendee named Caleb wanted to have a go at being a wildlife presenter. The media team was scrambled to shoot an interview, in which our budding presenter does a fantastic job.

Unfortunately, at 3pm sharp (the BioBlitz deadline), all power was cut. This meant that we couldn’t get the video up right away, but it’s here now for you to enjoy – albeit a little late!

Well done to Caleb for doing so well on camera!

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This was the scene at Blaise when 30 hours was up – a large crowd of excited participants, and some rather weary volunteers. Savita thanked the key players – especially the brilliant Parks staff, and the final tally was announced by Charlie Hamilton-James

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Charlie Hamilton-James, star of Halcyon River Diaries, came to the BioBlitz to announce the final tally.

The tally has been revealed as 536! That’s an astonishing amount to find within thirty hours! The good news is that the number will only go up after the wonderful people at BRERC have confirmed the final unidentified species!

Thank you so much to all the volunteers who helped make this such a successful event, along with everyone who came along to enjoy the sunshine and the nature.

We’re all off for some well earned sleep. We’ll blog more on Monday…

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Tension is mounting here as it inches closer 3pm, when the final species total will be revealed. Stream dippers and spider surveyors are bringing in their last finds and adding them to the species numbers. Highlights include an unidentified crab spider, a stunning jewel red weevil and a whole lot of leeches. One minute to the close of Bioblitz Bristoll 2010!

Tickling a spider at Blaise Castle

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