It’s been over four months since we had our Bioblitz at National Trust Llanerchaeron in West Wales and the recording continues, marking several firsts for the National Trust! This was the very first solely National Trust Bioblitz (we think!)
We found a total of 239 species, including a Red Data Book lichen new to the site. Considering it was a rather rainy, cold day in March, we were really pleased! Although the species we found were fab, the people involved were really important too.
A huge benefit has been the opportunity to make contact with experts in our area – whether it is lichenologist Steve Chambers, birder Andrew or moth experts Peter E Davis and Liz Snell, we now have training or public events on our sites in Ceredigion with these naturalists.
Around 35 people stopped to have a look at what we were doing and all were fascinated by the species we found and the weird and wonderful facts about them. Those that gave their details were emailed a small booklet to aid in beginning to identify invertebrates, and we gained two new volunteers on the day.
The volunteers that helped out – Corrinne, Rhodri and Sally – started out fairly new to species recording. They have continued to record what they have been seeing and volunteers starting since have been sucked into the excitement of seeing a new species. Whether we are putting a gate in, removing some Himalayan balsam or pond dipping, volunteers have been keeping their eye on what species are at our sites. Thanks to generous funding from Environment Wales, we have equipment for our eight – strong and growing group of volunteers. For the first time, one of our volunteers is helping to write a biological survey with one of the Trust ecologists. What of the species? Well, we found the rather rare lesser redpoll – a first for many and a tiny finch that likes to dangle upside down; a stinky sexton beetle that buries carcasses of mammals; a leopard slug – a slug that eats other slugs and mates while hanging upside-down on a thread of slime for hours and king alfreds’ cakes – a fungus that has an unusual name and can also be used for kindling.
BioBlitzes are great fun and anyone can get involved – and it can definitely spark a lifelong interest in the natural world!
Gwen Potter, Head Ranger Llanerchaeron