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One minute interview with Steph Gillett, volunteer guide at Bioblitz 2012.

 

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If you were enthralled with George’s post below showing some great images of our bat hunt last night with the Avon Bat Group (and some lovely close-ups of its stars), then take a look at the motion picture edition!

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5am on a Saturday and the promise of a fantastic dawn chorus walk, led by budding ornithologist Alex Rhodes, saw me dragging myself out from under the duvet covers and down to Arnos Vale Cemetery almost before the birds had even started singing.

Early morning stroll around Arnos Vale for the dawn chorus

Early morning stroll around Arnos Vale for the dawn chorus

The huge variety of habitats at Arnos Vale meant that we were privileged enough to witness the spectacle of the dawn chorus in all its glory, and we were treated to a tally of species which included wrens, robins, blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, bullfinches, goldcrests, blackbirds, woodpeckers and even a cuckoo. Truly impressive!

Birdwatching on the dawn chorus walk

Birdwatching on the dawn chorus walk

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The Avon Bat Group are a dedicated crew of bat enthusiasts that were on site here at Arnos Vale last night showing members of the public how to use bat detectors and then guiding them on a spooky walk round the cemetery to find the elusive flying mammals.

The Bat group brief the public on what bats they can expect to see and hear on the walk

As well as demonstrating the correct use of bat detectors the group were able to show the public images and sounds of the bats using a iPad funded by South Gloucestershire Council.

Bat detector use

Bat detectors use an ultrasonic microphone to pick up the high frequency bat calls and convert them to an audible sound

Once we set out it did not take long for us to detect the bat’s presence at Arnos Vale. All over we could here clicking noises of bat calls in our detectors.

Bat group using detectors

Using their bat detectors, the bat group hone in on the clicking noises the bats were making

The next day David Brown, from the Avon Bat group confirmed that the clicking and slapping noises matched exactly with the calls made by the common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus). If that wasn’t enough he even showed me a captive specimen…

Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)

A captive female common pipistrelle

…with the cutest little feet ever!

Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) feet

The tiny feet of the Common pipistrelle poking out of a volunteers hand

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The sun may be getting lower in the sky, but that means nothing to us at BioBLitz HQ! We’ve got the local Brownies here ready to carry on where the schools left off! They have been making hedgehog survey tubes and they’re ready to head off into the evening and set them all up.

Say "Hedgehog!"

Say “Hedgehog!”

Hedgehog hunters

Brownies demonstrating how the hedgehog survey tube will work!

Other activities tonight include a bat walk and a moth hunt. Stay tuned for blog posts on those later this evening and into tomorrow!

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We chatted to Niall Benvie, a renowned Scottish wildlife photographer, about his ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ project and why he thinks events such as BioBlitz are important.

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Check out this little guy – he’s really showing some enthusiasm for nature!

Naturalist of the future?

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Check out some of the One Minute Interviews we have conducted over the course of the afternoon…

1. Kathryn, Media Team member

2. Alex, Resident Ornithologist

3. Becky, Guide

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We’re going on a bug hunt, we’re going to find some bugs…

Earlier today Pete Dawson, our resident ‘Bug Man’, led a group of home-schooled students from the local area on an exciting trip through the grasslands of Arnos Vale in search of insects, spiders and all sorts of other creepy-crawlies.

We found plenty of intriguing critters to keep us interested, from wasps and spiders to cardinal beetles and butterflies. We even came across a whole host of harlequin ladybirds mating, and Pete explained to the group about the negative impact these seemingly harmless creatures are having on our own native ladybird population.

Always keen to get people engaged, Pete demonstrated how to use sweep nets, pooters and collection pots, before letting the enthusiastic kids loose in search of their own specimens for him to identify.

“It was very fun, very exhausting and very hot”, said Pete. “But its all about finding things, getting people to understand that the world is just full of weird things!”

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You may have read the blog post earlier about the fungi walk. We have now finished editing a short video taken during it – enjoy!

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