Nature Reserves Are Not Enough!
In tandem with the excellent initiative spearheaded by Chris Packham during the 10 days from the 14th July to the 23rd July 2018, a Bioblitz was undertaken along the New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail and on Paddington Meadows
A Bioblitz involves finding and identifying as many species of wildlife as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.
The campaign has a scientific purpose, and the results of this 2018 survey will be recorded to create a benchmark to help measure the rise and fall in numbers of different species in the future.
During the course of the Bioblitz, experts in a wide ranging spectrum of wildlife specialists came to the New Cut and Paddington Meadows to help group members to undertake their own Bioblitz survey.
The event was made possible by the sterling efforts of members of the Carbon Landscape Project, the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Greater Manchester Ecology Unit and Liverpool Museum and especially our visiting experts Jeff Gorse, Tony Parker, Dave Winnard (pictured left), Stuart Fraser and Harold (the batman) Green under the excellent stewardship of Jenny Griggs the Carbon Landscapes Community Engagement Officer.
Friday night bat walk found 58 bats from 6 species
The list of events commenced at 9.00 pm on Friday 13th with a bat walk and survey along the New Cut Canal towpath between New Cut Lane and Larkfield Avenue. Considering the date the exercise proved extremely fortuitous and six species of bat were identified (Common Noctule – 19; Nathusius’s Pipistrelle – 2; Common Pipistrelle – 25; Soprano Pipistrelle – 8; Brown Long-eared Bat – 2; Daubenton’s Bat – 2) with a total of 58 bats encountered. An excellent result and a many thanks to Harold (pictured right) and Mike of the Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group for making it possible.
On the same evening 48 mammal traps were laid under the guidance of Tony Parker, who is the mammal recorder for Cheshire Merseyside Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
These were inspected at 7.00 am on Saturday morning with unfortunately no luck. This doesn’t mean there are no mammals besides bats on Paddington Meadows, just that we weren’t fortunate or clever enough to catch any.
Nevertheless, 2 Weasel were noted during the course of the day.
Bioblitz mini bird survey – First Red Kite recorded
Saturday morning continued with a short bird survey covering the area nearest to the New Cut Canal which resulted in 31 species being logged. The first and most exciting of which was a Red Kite flying low over the Meadows at 7.15 am before heading off in an Easterly direction towards Woolston Eyes. The bird survey was also notable for the constant reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler in the Southeast corner of transect 10 and a 62 count of Goldfinch, mostly feeding on the seed heads of the wild flowers and thistles adjacent to the canal in transect 1.
Saturday continued with a welcome interval in the proceedings with a much needed and excellent breakfast on the picnic benches. Many thanks to Lynda Eagan, Jenny & Alice Griggs, Kevin Price and Trish Leah for preparing the picnic and comfortable seats.
The remainder of the morning and early afternoon was spent in the company of two more of our visiting experts Dave Winnard Consultant Naturalist, Forager and Wildlife Photographer from Discover the Wild (Plants and Flora) and Stuart Fraser Environmental Records Officer for Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (Bees and Butterflies)
The next three hours resulted in an enjoyable and fascinating insight into the rich abundance of flora and insects to be found along the New Cut Canal and Boardwalk.
In total the following were recorded:
- 6 Bat Species
- 2 Further Mammal Species
- 31 Bird Species
- 68 Plants and Wild Flowers Species
- 6 Dragonfly and Damselfly Species including a pair of Red-eyed Damselfly
- 8 Bees and Wasp Species including 2 Cuckoobee species and both a
- Large Red-tailed Bumblebee Queen and a Buff-tailed Bumblebee Queen.
- 19 Butterflies and Moths including a Painted Lady and Holly Blue.
- 6 Other Insect Species
Details of the findings of the Bioblitz have been forwarded to RODIS the wildlife recording database for Cheshire and Birdtrack the BTO’s recording database for dragonflies and birds.
The monthly bird survey proper was undertaken on Sunday 15th July to round off a busy weekend and it is proposed to undertake a moth survey during the month of July.