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Parkhurst Forest Bioblitz 2017 - report from the Recording Hub

Friday June 2nd dawned bright and sunny and by 8.30am people were on site to begin setting up their gazeboes in the picnic area by the main car park. There had been moth traps set on the previous evening and the first records, of 62 moth species from a total catch of 327 specimens, were soon being entered into the database.

Further moth records were made during the day including the mines of moth larvae tunnelling through leaves and day-flying species such as the silver Y, giving 79 moth species in total.

The bird recorders were out early walking around the whole of the forest and between them found 37 species including coal tit, crossbill, firecrest and goldcrest. Birds are not always seen, but with practice can be identified by their songs and calls and a number of people took advantage of the guided walks on offer to learn to distinguish some of the commoner birds.

Mammals are mostly readily recorded by the signs they leave behind. There were plenty of cones in the hub area which showed signs of being nibbled by red squirrels but only one person reported seeing a pair of red squirrels chasing through the tree tops. The bat group organised a hi-tech recording walk in the evening and using their detectors picked up echo-locating calls from six different species. The results were much as would be expected from what is already known about the area but they commented that ‘the Barbastelle bat was the second most prevalent species to the Common Pipistrelle, which ties up with the surveys carried out in 2012-14. Parkhurst is definitely a major stronghold for Barbastelles.’

The botanical enthusiasts covered a large part of the forest between them and found over 200 species. The Island’s botany recorder commented ‘Parkhurst Forest is a well recorded site for plants, so I was surprised at how many records were ‘new’ to the site. In particular, records for Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum), Pignut (Conopodium majus) and Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) were the first since 1978!’ We were also pleased to have a bryophyte expert joining us this year and 16 species were recorded from a damp area in the north of the Forest.

Insects other than moths were investigated by a number of people. Meadow brown butterflies were much in evidence as were red admiral, speckled wood and brimstone and occasional sightings of other species. The bug hoover was put to use collecting invertebrates from the woodland floor. A wood cricket nymph, ground beetles, centipedes, spiders of various descriptions all made for a fascinating time, with pooters and magnifiers being used to good effect. More conventional sweep nets dislodged invertebrates temporarily from the vegetation for identification, before they were released.

By the end of the afternoon, 350 species had been logged in the spreadsheet, but when all the records had been checked and processed, the final total for the event stood at 469.

The Isle of Wight biodiversity steering group would like to thank all those who gave of their time and expertise to make this recording event possible.

15 June 2017
01:35:00 pm, Categories: Events

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