Norwich team in wildlife marathon

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Several of The Ecology Consultancy’s staff joined an expert team helping out at a Bioblitz at Dinosaur Adventure on the Weston Park Estate in Norfolk .  Tracy, Rachel and Alex led on wild plants and fungi, as well as small mammal trapping. Other specialists from all over the region took part in the marathon 24 hour nature-watch.

The Bioblitz concept comes from Auckland, New Zealand and is taking off in the UK. A BioBlitz event  engages large numbers of people with biodiversity, inviting them to get directly involved in surveying and monitoring.  Scientists and members of the public work together to survey a natural space; seeking, identifying and recording as many species as possible over 24 hours. The data collected provides useful scientific information and helps to tailor land management to benefit biodiversity.

The Dinosaur Adventure Bioblitz covered all species including invertebrates, birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and of course a wide variety of plants. To date, 616 species have been recorded with records still coming in!

Thirty small mammal traps were set across the whole of the park and capture rates were high with over 65% success. Two of these were double captures whereby two animals were caught in the same trap. In one case, this must have been a tight squeeze given that both occupants were amply-sized adult wood mice. Unsurprisingly, both were keen to escape! Wood mouse was by far the most common small mammal trapped, followed by bank vole and field vole. Evidence of badger was also recorded during the weekend.

The most exciting botanical finds of the day were recorded from a flower-rich fen meadow on the site, where Alex found a colony of leopard marsh orchids (a spotted-leaved variety of southern marsh orchid), common yellow-sedge and bog pimpernel.  Unfortunately Himalayan balsam and New-Zealand pygmyweed (both invasive non-native plant species) were also recorded nearby.  Alex aims to work with staff at the Dinosaur Park in the future to advise on the management of this site, and adjoining areas of wetland, to benefit its wildlife.

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