Saturday, 21 July 2018

A Day at NT Wicken Fen (Opening Day of Chris Packham's UK BioBlitz)

Small red-eyed Damselfly*, one of the first insects we saw on arrival

We arrived at NT Wicken Fen on the first day of Chris Packham's UK BioBlitz at the site. There was quite a buzz, and although the BioBlitz did not begin until the late afternoon, we were able to do a couple of 15 minute Butterfly Conservation 'Big Butterfly Count' surveys in advance of the main proceedings.

I'm glad to report that when the time came for the start of the Wicken Fen BioBlitz, David and I kickstarted the count with our sightings of a Water Vole and a Banded Demoiselle. Yay!

We had also seen a Grass Snake, but, alas, before the opening of the proceedings so it could not be counted.

My first 'Big Butterfly Count' surveys, lasting for 15 minutes, produced the following results:

Sadly the following species did not show up during either of my counts, though we saw a couple of Blues on the wing during the afternoon (hard to ID) and one or two Red Admirals:
  • Comma
  • Painted Lady
  • Small Tortoiseshell
  • Red Admiral
  • Peacock
  • Common Blue
  • Holly Blue
  • Silver Y Moth
  • Six-spot Burnet Moth
I plan to do more surveys over the next few weeks. 

Our butterfly surveys complete (and these were separate from the BioBlitz), we kept an eye out for other species. By this time the BioBlitz had begun and I was delighted to see my first Banded Demoiselle of the season. Sadly the Water Vole was too fast for us to catch on camera though we enjoyed hearing it munching away before the telltale 'plop' that preceded its brief appearance.

Demoiselle, Wicken Fen, 21 July 2018

The kind members of NT/Bioblitz staff posed for me in the photo below, after recording our two sightings. By now their list will be looking pretty full!

 And here's David (Gill) standing outside the BioBlitz Recording Centre.

Earlier in the day David had managed to get a photo of the Grass Snake ... You really need to see the photo on a large screen to be convinced, but it is there in the centre of the photo, moving horizontally across the lode to the left, just behind a horizontal reed.

What a great day, and we wish everyone at Wicken another terrific day tomorrow when Chris Packham will be on site for part of the day.

* My thanks to Conehead for alerting me to the fact that this is the Small Red-eyed Damselfly.


Lowcarb team member said...

What a lovely post.
It looked and sounded a great day.

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

All the best Jan

Conehead54 said...

The first damselfly isn't Red-eyed but Small Red-eyed Damselfly. Sounds like you had a good day!

Ragged Robin said...

A wonderful post Caroline - it must have been a lovely day out. Well done on the water vole and grass snake sightings - I haven't seen either for years!

I was going to do a Butterfly Count at Packwood on Friday but I was only there half an hour and there were that many "whites" flitting about I realised I wouldn't have time to id each of those and take photos! I will try and return although I did do one in the garden yesterday.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a great set of observations!

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you all so much for your comments: each one is much appreciated. And I will post a holiday pic soon - still chasing my tail a bit after the 'diversion' of the BioBlitz day on Saturday!