From midday on 15th May, the Penwith Landscape Partnership held our first Virtual Garden BioBlitz- where for a 24 hour period we invited residents of Penwith into their gardens, land, and even within their homes to list the wildlife species found there. Identifying the species present in Penwith, and where they can be found, is incredibly valuable for recording our biodiversity and can help with planning future conservation work.
We were thrilled with how many of you took part in our event- we had over 150 participants, plus pupils from a number of local schools. We were even able to talk about the event live on BBC Radio Cornwall! Those taking part kept our team busy by sending in their lists of sightings, and taking to Facebook to share photographs and to submit queries regarding species they were struggling to identify. Mystery images were scrutinised by PLP team members and wildlife experts Derek Green and Sally Luker of Budding Nature, who also had a team of additional advisors on hand for those really tricky species. Derek and Sally also took on the task of compiling all the submitted lists of species, to see just how diverse Penwith’s wildlife really is.
From the records submitted we have identified 725 species with well over 3000 records submitted- a fantastic record of Penwith’s wildlife. The BioBlitz identified several common species, with plants the most numerous species but birds being reported by the most individuals. It also recorded some species only typically found here in Penwith, and highlighted the success of conservation work that has already taken place- including the recording of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly in Lamorna, in an area where our volunteers had worked to create the ideal habitat for this species.
Our participants also really enjoyed the event and gave us some lovely feedback- Tony Phillips said “Thanks for an interesting 24 hr BioBlitz... Yes, we are still talking to each other as well…”. We also had some lovely descriptions of Penwith’s wildlife during the event. Carolyn Kennett wrote “I spent an hour at Boscawen-un stone circle late yesterday evening, there were little insects about - other than some midges. The cuckoo was calling the whole hour and could be seen on the telegraph wire. The Robin was quite brash and most likely trying to protect young”.
The event was largely planned by Nick, our Penwith Hedges and Volunteer Programme Coordinator. Nick said about the event, “‘There was a great buzz around the whole event, with lots of people getting out into their gardens and looking at and appreciating their wildlife. That which was exactly what we hoped for, lots of engagement, lots of chat about garden wildlife, and masses of wildlife records generated, which really helps conservation. We were a little nervous about the coordinating the whole event online but that worked really well and made it possible for lots of folks to get involved. We’ll definitely do it again!”
A massive thank you to everyone who took part! To keep up to date with our future events make sure you regularly visit our website. And if you'd like to find out what our top ten most identified species were, watch our video summary with Nick below: