Trip reports

Volunteering at the Duddingston Bioblitz

Volunteering at the Duddingston Bioblitz
Manning the stand - Winnie Thomson

Saturday, 17 June 2017

I didn't know what a Bioblitz was when I answered the call to help at the event at Duddingston. Essentially it is a wildlife survey where people come together to count all the wildlife on one site. This follows on from a similar event in 2016. The day harnessed Citizen Science through wildlife recording to allow everyone to learn about the species within Duddingston Field, the Loch, Dr. Neil's Garden and nearby Bawsinch Nature Reserve with events and activities happening throughout the day.

Our Local Group manned a stand with the aim of informing the public about the RSPB and the Group and to answer bird-related questions if we could. We had telescopes on feeders positioned in nearby trees and a couple of competitions including one to identify real bird's wings provided by Lewis. We also had kits made by Brian, to assemble a bird box on-site and take home. Val and Sam provided a display describing our coach outing venues and birds seen there. Steuart displayed some of his photographs.

We also assisted in wider activities on the day with Brian leading four walks around Bawsinch, including a 6am dawn walk. Colette helped Brian with a walk and collated the sightings to add into the event's overall species list for the day and was on the registration desk too. I accompanied the leader from Butterfly Conservation on a pollinator hunt in Duddingston field where five bee and four butterfly species were recorded and a spider hunt in Dr. Neil's garden with many found, but only three spiders definitely identified to species level.

Other events were a wild flower walk, reptile and amphibian hunt, moth walk and a late-night bat walk. Pond dipping, a worm charming festival and a mini-beast safari were particularly popular with the younger children.

The day gave us the opportunity to learn more about creatures other than birds which we come across on our regular weekend and mid-week outings and hopefully to enthuse other people with our love for nature.

Margaret Harrison