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Bioblitz nets more than 250 species




A Bioblitz on a parcel of land near Rutland recorded more than 250 species
A Bioblitz on a parcel of land near Rutland recorded more than 250 species

A recent Bioblitz held on a parcel of land near Rutland led to some exciting discoveries being made as more than 250 species were recorded.

The event took place on The Three Villages Conservation Trust site near the villages of Allexton, Belton-in-Rutland and Wardley. The 7.4 acre piece of land lies alongside the A47.

The Bioblitz, held earlier this month, was done in partnership with community members and A Focus on Nature (AFON), a mentoring programme that offers young conservationists the opportunity to link with professionals.

Local writer and filmmaker Ceri Levy, who helped organise the event, said between 35 to 40 people turned up to help.

“It was wonderful to see so many young people interested in wildlife and nature,” said Ceri.

“We had several country recorders take part in the survey, including specialists in plants and trees, moths, butterflies, bugs and beetles and experts on mammals and birds too, including the well-known local conservationist Tim Mackrill, who led a couple of early-morning bird walks.”

Ceri said highlights included the discovery of a pair of breeding willow tits, one of the most seriously in decline birds in the country and a bird that has moved onto the red list locally.

“It just shows what a little bit of searching can do,” he said.

“Also found was only the fifth recording for the area of a copse snail, which provoked quite a lot of reaction from those in the know.”

Camera traps set up overnight also proved that otters use the site as one was filmed on camera.

“There is a magical feeling when viewing the footage in the morning waiting to see what has set the cameras off as they are all triggered by motion,” said Ceri.

“We also caught on camera a water shrew, a roe deer and even a local cat.

“Sunday also saw the first sighting of a Kingfisher hurtling down the waterway and created quite a buzz for those that witnessed it bombing past.”

He said one of the star finds was a poplar hawkmoth, which was named Anthony by the children due to his antennae.

A Bioblitz on a parcel of land near Rutland recorded more than 250 species including "Anthony", the poplar hawk moth being held by Arthur Fitchett
A Bioblitz on a parcel of land near Rutland recorded more than 250 species including "Anthony", the poplar hawk moth being held by Arthur Fitchett

“He hung around all morning and didn’t want to leave everybody.”

Ceri and a group of “Gonzovationists” - a term used to describe alternative conservationists - recently cleaned the site and removed thousands of plastic guards that were still wrapped around trees.

In total they filled six large recycling bags.

Some of the trustees were present at the Bioblitz and explained that the trees had been planted 15 years ago as a conservation gesture.

Ceri said the Bioblitz was another “stunning act of Gonzovation” handled by members of AFON.

A Bioblitz on a parcel of land near Rutland recorded more than 250 species
A Bioblitz on a parcel of land near Rutland recorded more than 250 species

“Without them the species on site would still be a mystery.

“There is still much to discover and certainly work to do but we now know a lot more than we did before the Bioblitz.”

The information will now be used to help manage the site and protect the creatures living on it.

“As Gonzovationists our job is to nurture the site and its inhabitants,” said Ceri.

“But the first important steps have been taken and the site has proved to be more exciting than we ever imagined.”



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