Sunday, 5 June 2011

Two Bioblitzes in 36 hours!

A Bioblitz is definitely a core activity for Natur Cymru readers, as it’s a concentrated effort over a day to find and identify as many plants and animals as possible on a specific site. Usually experts are drafted in and beginners are encouraged to come along and learn/help. So it should be a fun activity as well as generating lots of records.
Anyway, I went along to Ty Hwll (the Ugly House) on the A5 near Capel Curig for the Snowdonia Society’s Bioblitz on May 20th. My contribution was supposed to be an Owl Walk at dusk; what I actually did was to inspect all the nestboxes in the grounds, accompanied by two ‘beginners’ who had never seen inside a box before! They were delighted to see nests of blue & great tits, pied flycatchers and even a nuthatch nest. After this was over, the bat team were setting up a harp trap (for bats) and switching on their sophisticated bat detectors.
Thirty-six hours later I was on the outskirts of Bangor at my second Bioblitz, held at Eithinog, a 33-acre area of old fields and hedges near Ysgol Friars. The site has recently become an SSSI on account of its grassland fungi, and Gwynedd Council is about to hand it over to North Wales Wildlife Trust. Despite strong winds and heavy showers, nearly all events were well-attended, including a Wild Flower Walk led by our Editor and his wife Joanna (see photo!). Roy Tapping from COFNOD (Local Records Centre) popped in several times to collect records as the groups returned to base. Although Eithinog’s wildlife is unusually well-documented, species will die out and others arrive, so listing must continue indefinitely. At present the site is effectively a Public Open Space. Future management may be more pro-active, but hopefully there will be no shortage of naturalists (from experts to beginners) to continue the programme.

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