Surveying wildlife is essential if we are to improve our understanding of the state of nature. The information gathered during surveys is very helpful as it can reveal how wildlife numbers and distribution can change in response to climate change and habitat loss.
One very effective way of gathering information like this is a BioBlitz. A BioBlitz is a session to record as much wildlife as possible within a single day at a single site. It’s a great way of getting a clearer picture of how nature is faring in the Gwent Levels, and over the past six months we’ve held four events at the Living Levels visitor hubs, starting at Caldicot Castle and Magor Marsh in May and Hendre Lake and Tredegar House in June. Despite some very wet conditions, and some very sunny ones too, over 250 people from all ages, abilities, and backgrounds attended to make the events a success.
In total, over 800 species were recorded, and it was great to see such mixed and varied interest across the different sites. The Hendre Lake BioBlitz had some real highlights with soldier beetle and Shrill carder bee recorded, it also threw up a first recording for Wales - Nysius huttoni, a New Zealand endemic ground bug that is spreading quickly throughout Britain. We also saw recordings of invasive species such as zebra mussel and mink. The Living Levels Invasive Non-Native Species Project is working to map and understand the risk of invasive species across the Levels. This valuable data will help us build a better picture of the state of our wildlife in the Levels.
Thank you to all the wonderful participants, volunteers and partners for taking part in our citizen science events. We’ll be offering more BioBlitz sessions next year at our Living Levels visitor hubs which will be open to families, amateur naturalists, and professionals so keep an eye out for next year’s events calendar and sign up to our newsletter to stay informed.