In March, iWatch Wildlife took part in a special event called Discovery Bay led by Arc Consulting as part of British National Science Week.
The Bay was an ideal location due to its diversity of wildlife and geology which reaches back in time a staggering 100 million years! Saturday focussed on marine wildlife in Shanklin, and the Sunday, geology and palaeontology with experts on hand both days to assist with interpretation.
During the weekend, there were opportunities to explore hands-on through rock pooling, fossil hunting, birdwatching and get close-up and investigate both live and historical specimens using high powered digital microscopes and equipment.
iWatch Wildlife helped with species identification and recording, tallying up observations across the two days. An incredible 108 species were recorded from 12 different species groups demonstrating the diversity of species which The Bay supports. Birds were most recorded, followed by Seaweeds (Alga) with Flowering Plants and Mosses tying for third place.
A juvenille Common Starfish (Asterias rubens) was quite literally the star of the show discovered by Nigel George during the rockpooling expedition to Horse Ledge, Shanklin. Dr Roger Herbert reported this a significant find as although this species was historically recorded in The Bay in 1909 in Morey’s guide to the Natural History of the Isle of Wight, it is only the fourth record of this species from the intertidal waters around the Island.
Also from the same family, the Small Brittlestar (Amphipolis squamata), exquisitely alga-adorned Broad-clawed Porcelain Crab and the Painted Topshell.
On the Sunday, species highlights included an unexpected Hummingbird Hawk Moth in Brown’s café – most likely overwintered as a caterpillar, a Goldeneye Duck, Peregrine Falcon and a new record for Tamarisk Liverwort (Frullania tamarisci) – an uncommon liverwort in the woodland behind Dinosaur Isle.
Huge thanks to everybody that came along to volunteer their time, lend their expertise, submit records and support the event. More pictures from the event can be seen at ‘DiscoveryBay!’ on Facebook.