Archive for the ‘BioBlitz HQ’ Category

Here is a (very) quick edit of the big reveal!

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…and the grand tally for the weekend is (drumroll please!)….

Revealing the final species count!

Revealing the final species count!

…454! What an amazing finale to a fantastic 30 hours of species hunting in Arnos Vale Cemetery. This year’s total species count may not be as high as last year’s, but don’t forget that we’re not in the countryside this time!

Amazingly, 8 species never before recorded in Bristol were found over the course of BioBlitz 2012, and 1 species was even a new record for Avon. And don’t forget, 454 species is just the total so far, with that number set to rise as unidentified records are confirmed by our team of experts. Great work!

The crowds gather for the final species count result

The crowds gather for the final species count result

From cuckoos to cardinal beetles, the diversity of species we’ve witnessed here at Arnos Vale has been staggering, and we’re proud that such a wealth of nature is flourishing at the heart of Bristol.

We think that all of the hundreds of dedicated naturalists, guides, school groups, members of the public, and anybody else who has been at all involved over the last few days have done a hugely impressive job.  We hope you agree!

Cardinal beetle

Cardinal beetle

We hope you had lots of fun discovering new species and places during this year’s BioBlitz. Our thanks to everyone at Arnos Vale for hosting us,  and and to everyone else who joined in.

A toast to all who helped make BioBlitz a great event

Let us know what you enjoyed most, and we hope to see you again next year!

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In addition to the wildlife here at Arnos Vale cemetery, we can’t help but notice that there seems to have been a minor outbreak of guerilla knitting. Here’s some of the evidence…





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It’s a fantastic day here at the Arnos Vale cemetery in Bristol, with wall-to-wall sunshine and species galore. It’s difficult to think of a better time or a better place for the BioBlitz. Here are a few photos of this most stunning of venues.





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A big thank you

As we revel in our success and enjoy the traditional BioBlitz champagne toast with our visitors, it’s important to remember all of the work that has gone on behind the scenes.

So here’s a big BioBlitz thank you to:

  • the guides, who have tirelessly led our visitors on tours and activities throughout the event;
  • the naturalists, who have given so generously of their knowledge and experience;
  • the stewards, who have kept things moving and us on the straight and narrow;
  • the media team, who have recorded the event in such detail and created our amazing blog;
  • our hosts from the National Trust, who have been so supportive and have let us have the run of this fantastic site;
  • the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC), who have kept count of the species and made this a truly scientific venture;
  • Matt the volunteer manager, who has made sure we’re all in the right place at the right time;
  • Vicky the BioBlitz coordinator, who has made sure that we have something to do when we get there; and
  • Savita, the Director of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, who has provided the vision and the enthusiasm (as well as the champagne).

And last, but by no means least, a massive thank you to everyone who has come along to the Bristol BioBlitz, whether in person or online, to get involved and to learn more about the flora, fauna and fungi that the Tyntesfield estate has to offer. Hats off to you all. It’s been truly great. An absolute pleasure.

Savita, Vicky and Matt: three of the key organisers

Savita, Vicky and Matt (in that order)

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It’s all go here at the Bristol BioBlitz as we enter the last few minutes of this marathon biodiversity survey. And the question on everyone’s lips is ‘how many species have we identified?’ The scoreboard still says 448, but it’s been like that since midday and we’ve had results streaming all afternoon.

Will we beat last year’s record of 536? Will we top Helen and Jolanta’s guess of 559 species? And will we come anywhere close to big cheese Savita’s promise of a thousand different types of mammals, plants and creepy crawlies?

The boffins from the BRERC are racing around with clipboards and someone has just stolen my table to set up a champagne reception. Should we read anything into this? Do they know something we don’t? We can’t take the tension much longer, but luckily the end is in sight. Stay glued to your screens. We know we will.

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There was a treat in store for visitors to Tyntesfield this afternoon, with performance poetry from our own BioBlitz Bard, Caleb Parkin. He wowed the crowds with poems prepared especially for the event, exploring species that we commonly see as vermin, viewed through the lens of the seven deadly sins.

The BioBlitz bard as a pigeon The BioBlitz bard as a bed bug The BioBlitz bard as a seagull

The entertainment started with Vermin III, which took the idea of ‘pigeon fanciers’ to the extreme by comparing the humble pigeon with the sin of lust. Not the most obvious choice for a theme, but lines such as

“There’s a vast globe to cover in our poo,

and when we’re gone, who’ll see that through?”

definitely appealed to our audience, especially the younger members. From here, Caleb segued gracefully to the topic of bedbugs, which he paralleled with the sin of gluttony in Vermin V, entitled ‘Let us bite’. With the poet now taking the place of a New York gangster, Caleb’s portrayal of one of the ‘bedfellaz’ will have our visitors laughing (but hopefully not scratching) for some time to come.

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Matt from UWE on the microscopes

Matt showing one of our younger visitors the ins and outs of lichen

When our experts find something in the field which they can’t identify, they take it back to BioBlitz HQ. Here, a hardy team of more experts await to help figure out what these mystery species are.

With the last hour of the 2011 Bristol BioBlitz well underway, and our most recent tally reported to be 448, the people manning these stations will be vital if we are to beat our previous score!

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The Roving Verminous Bard

If you’re taking part in the BioBlitz today, you may come across this strangely dressed creature. If you’re not scared off by the unusual appearance you will be treated to some ‘verminous verse’. With the help of a variety of costumes representing different ‘unloved’ critters, the bard will recite poems written by each of them, from rats to herring gulls, and we’re sure there will be some insect inspiration too!

At 12:30 and 1:30 you can also attend a workshop to get help with writing your own wriggly rhymes or prickly poems.

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Today already looks like its going to be jam-packed with fun finds. Walks already on the schedule:

10:30 Fungus foray

11:00 Plants and trees / wildflowers

11:30 Birds / lichens

12:00 Plants and trees

13:30 Pond dipping

We’ll be sure to cover the big discoveries here on the blog but if you are free come down and join the fun!

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