I'm gonna do 24 hours at the Woods Mill biolblitz!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday, 23 August 2018 13:29

On the 31st August, Sussex Wildlife Trust will be conducting a 'bioblitz' at Woods Mill as part of the 50 year anniversary there. A bioblitz that starts in summer and ends in autumn (if you measure the seasons meteorologically like any reasonable person).When I heard that the event will be starting on the Friday evening and going on for pretty much 24 hours, I thought, maybe it will be worth giving this a go. And by that I mean actually doing a full 24 hours like Dave and I did last June.

So it's on! Lois, James and the team will be running the event but being sensible people, will be going to bed at some point. I am gonna start at 3.00 pm with a derived list from the reserves species master list on waterproof paper. I'm gonna plough on until 3.00 pm the next day. Then sleep. There are some differences though when it comes to doing this in June . One rather big one is that I'm not gonna have Dave Green (unfortunately he's not around that weekend) catching & identifying stuff and will also have to scribe and count myself. Eeeek! The other is 10 hours of darkness. And most of this will happen in September. However, here is what IS in my favour.
  • No travelling. It's all on one site.
  • A classroom with Internet, power and somewhere to put my books and microscope/s.
  • A site I have recorded intimately for years so I know where a lot of stuff is. All those lunch time walks will come in handy.
  • Lots of people on hand to help.
The master list for all reserves currently stands at 10,129 species for all 32 sites. Woods Mill is our fourth most well-recorded reserve at 2361 species (surpassed only by Rye Harbour, Ebernoe Common and Iping & Stedham Common). The mean year of the last record for Woods Mill is 2008 (compared to an average of 2006 for all reserves). The mode of the last record for Woods Mill is 2016. So we are highly likely to change these statistics. I predict a good few new records for the site and maybe the odd one new to the reserve network.

So what is realistically achievable? I have no idea. I really don't. I would expect to get a 100 species in the first 30 minutes and 200 within an hour, soon after this I think it's gonna plateau, I just don't know! Here are the challenges that I am gonna set for us:

  1. To collectively record a 1000 species at Woods Mill in the whole bioblitz, including identifications made after the 24 hour period. That would be over 40% of everything ever recorded in the last 50 years.
  2. To personally get to at least 600 species on the site within the 24 hour period. That would be over 25% of everything ever recorded there in the last 50 years.
Here is the link to the event on the Trust website. I am gonna have to rethink whether this is worth doing to this intensity if the weather is really wet though. So, if you would like to come and lend some support or add your sweep net to the mix, then come on down! You're gonna have to find me though, as I am gonna be very mobile. I'd really appreciate help with the odd social media update and relaying results back to the HQ. I'm probably gonna collect a lot of specimens in the first afternoon to go through in the 10 hours of darkness. Dew isn't likely to burn off until 10.00 am on this site, so there is gonna be 10 hours of trudging around in the damp on 1st September if I don't plan this wisely! At least I can use this time to do birds by ear though.

I'm not going to be fund-raising this time, it's purely for the joy of celebrating the wildlife at Woods Mill that I've enjoyed so much over the last 10 years and to produce a whole load of records for the site.

Anyway, it's only a week tomorrow so I better get packing, ordering and charging!

PS I HATE the word 'bioblitz'. Wish we had something better but this seems to have stuck.

1 Response to "I'm gonna do 24 hours at the Woods Mill biolblitz!"

Gibster Says:

I managed 546 on patch earlier this year, entirely solo from midnight to midnight in mid June. And that was up here in the frigid subarctic wastes, so you should easy beat that in a highly biodiverse nature reserve in the far south :)

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