This year’s Bioblitz took place in Sandown on 12th May as part of the large community festival, Hullabaloo. The recording hub was based in the Discovery Bay marquee next to the Dinosaur Isle Museum. The recording area covered the reedbeds, ponds, woodland and wet meadows of Sandown Levels to the north-east; the immediate surroundings of Dinosaur Isle including the Canoe Lake; and the foreshore north of Sandown to the cliffs and beach as far as Culver.
Moth traps were set up to run overnight on 11th but cool and breezy conditions resulted in a relatively poor catch, which unfortunately has been the trend so far this year. The weather during the day was not very favourable to insect observation either, and coupled with a date relatively early in the season, the total number of insect species was rather lower than previous years. Just one species of butterfly – the red admiral – was seen on the wing with one more (orange tip) being found at the egg stage. Twenty-six species of moth were found in total, one damsel fly and one dragonfly and nine species of beetle.
A number of botanists worked their way across the Levels, recording both flowering and non-flowering plants. A species which has not previously been recorded on the Island was the constricted feather moss, Hygroamblystegium humile , found in the ditches. On the Pluto pavilion there was a huge concentration of the larva of the bagworm moth Luffia ferchaultella. This species has been seen in a number of places on the Island but only in low quantities previously.
The cliffs provided a good hunting ground for mosses, liverworts and lichens. The grassy edges of the car park yielded some specialist plants of dry sandy grassland including bird’s foot clover, knotted clover and subterranean clover.
The ornithologists reached a total of 49 species during the day, including a whimbrel seen on the beach in the early morning; as the main event began to wind down, two further species which had been elusive during the day, swifts and an oystercatcher, were spotted overhead.
Lab facilities were available this year and collection of water samples from the Canoe Lake and the ditches on Sandown Levels gave a new dimension to the recording. Not all species were fully named, but diatoms and tardigrades were amongst the species on view to the public.
High tide was about 10am, so from early afternoon the beach was accessible to the marine enthusiasts. Although no-one looked at the tyre pools in detail, the groynes and rocks below the cliffs had a range of crustacea, molluscs and algae. The strandline had at least ten species identified including kelps, empty shells and hornwrack, but as they may have just been brought in by the sea rather than being ’resident’ they haven’t been included in the total.
The total of 405 species observed and named – with possibly another name to come – was a great team effort. Many thanks to all who submitted records, stayed up late and/or got up early, and persisted with identifying or confirming unusual species.
Summary of records by groups
|HEMIPTERA (BUGS) & Others||4|
Picture Gallery from the day