Liverpool Festival Gardens’ first ever BioBlitz was held last weekend, with more than 285 different species recorded.
Hosted by the Green Angels project, the event proved to be a great success. Experts from Liverpool World Museum, Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s HLF-funded Biodiverse Society project, RSPB Liverpool and North Merseyside Amphibian & Reptile Group helped participants track and record incredible wildlife at this iconic riverside park.
One of the most significant finds was a population of Oak Bush Crickets, representing an important breakthrough in our understanding of the site and species population density across a more urbanised area. There has only been one previous recording of this cricket regionally, on the Sefton Coast.
The BioBlitz activities kicked off on Friday evening when small mammal and moth traps were set. Night-time pond dipping discovered an amazing number of aquatic mini-beasts with water scorpions, great diving beetles, greater and lesser water boatmen and adolescent newts teeming in the shallows.
The highlight of the evening session was the bat walk. As darkness fell numerous bats gathered to feed, swooping and flitting over the main lake at Festival Gardens. Their calls, heard over echo locators, were so prolific that we had to turn down the volume! Species identified were Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bats.
Saturday’s events were well attended, with pond dipping proving popular with aspiring young naturalists who were astounded with the small Carp and smooth newts that they found on site. The bird walks and insect surveying attracted a lot of interest and we recorded a huge variety of flowers and plants during the grassland/meadow survey.
The success of the event and particularly the numbers of species found highlight the effectiveness of wildlife friendly parks management at Festival Gardens.
Managed jointly by the Land Trust and The Conservation Volunteers on behalf of Liverpool City Council, Festival Gardens is now firmly on the biodiversity map and similar events are planned in the future to inspire the next generation of young naturalists and provide vital geographical records for Merseyside BioBank to help in the continued conservation of Merseyside.
Visitors to Festival Gardens are being urged to keep their eyes peeled for Jiminy the Oak Bush Cricket.
Green Angels is a BIG Lottery funded project co-ordinated by national land management charity the Land Trust which aims to improving the quality of life for local communities by providing environmental training opportunities at Liverpool Festival Gardens.