Rare species found in New Forest dash to record wildlife

Published Tuesday 25 May 2010

A 24-hour wildlife bonanza to record as many species as possible in the New Forest National Park revealed some exciting finds.

Experts were joined by hundreds of members of the public and enthusiasts in locations across the Forest in the ‘bioblitz’ to mark the International Year of Biodiversity on Saturday 22 May.

New Forest National Park Ecologist Ian Barker said: ‘We recorded 415 species by the end of the 24 hours but we hope this might rise to around 500 over the next week or so once all the records collected have been entered into the database.

‘Our most exciting find was the ‘Scarce Merveille du Jour’ moth in Denny Wood near Lyndhurst. This species is classified as rare nationally and is the subject of a special protection plan in Hampshire, as well as being a New Forest speciality. It is the earliest record for Hampshire by two days - no doubt due to the recent warm weather.

‘We also saw many New Forest specialities including the noctule bat and birds such as the nightjar and curlew.

'I would like to think that beating this total is something we can set ourselves as a challenge for next year.

'However it is not just the numbers of species that was important - we have had a lot of contact with members of the public with really positive feedback from people taking part. Hopefully we will have instilled in our younger participants a passion for wildlife and some of those will become the wildlife experts of the future.’

The breakdown of the species recorded came to:

Group Species
Amphibians & Reptiles 2
Birds 66
Mammals 4
Fish 2
Fungi 7
Invertebrates 116
Plants including lichens and lower plants 218
TOTAL 415

The bioblitz  kicked off at Burley at 3pm on Friday 21 May where children from Burley Primary School and Hounsdown School in Totton were joined by parents in pond dipping, tree walks, bug hunts, plant surveys and birdsong discoveries.

This was followed by a bat and moth hunt until 11.30pm, a dawn chorus walk early the following morning both at Matley Wood near Lyndhurst, a bug hunt at Bolderwood and a day of activities at Lepe Country Park with the final total at 4pm.

Experts from the Natural History Museum, Hampshire County Council, Forestry Commission, the Hampshire Wildlife Trust and the National Park Authority’s own tree officer, ecologist and bird expert were among the specialists helping people of all ages to discover the Park’s wide variety of plants, fungi and animals.

The data will be used to inform the National Park Authority’s work on how best to look after the New Forest wildlife.

All the events were profiled live on a Bioblitz blog which can be viewed at: http://bioblitzthepark.blogspot.com.

-ends-

Media Contact:
Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608
Email: hilary.makin@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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