In August this year, along with our friends at FrogLife, we carried out our second “bioblitz” of wetland meadow, Heworth Holme. St Nicks have been working on improving the habitat at Heworth Holme for nearly five years and together with our volunteers, we have transformed the site from a grassland overgrown with thick grasses and ranks species such as nettle, creeping thistle and dock, into a glorious wetland meadow, teaming with life. Now it’s easy for us to say that, but can we really demonstrate that change? That is exactly why we thought a bioblitz would be a good idea! Back in 2019, three years into managing the site, we recorded 243 different species – a number we were very proud of. Two years later and our species count is exactly twice that much and currently stands at 486 (though some records are still being verified so the final tally may yet be higher).
The event started at dusk, kicking things off with a bat walk where we saw both common and soprano pipistrelle bats frantically feeding before the weather gets cold. Then we set up the moth trap enticing our winged friend in with our irresistible light and found lots of moths such as yellow underwings and a willow beauty.
In the morning, it was into the meadow searching for everything and anything we could find whether that be birds such as chiffchaffs chirping their tell-tale songs and buzzards flying overhead, or pollinators such as holly blue butterflies and common carder bumblebee enjoying the late flowering plants. There is a wealth of wildflowers to be found at Heworth Holme including purple loosestrife, fleabane and tansy. Perhaps one day York’s famous tansy beetle could find their way there! We also hopped into Tang Hall beck that runs through the site to see what lay in the waters below and found water crickets, hoglice and damselfly larvae. But that just scratches the surface of the exciting things that we found throughout the day.
It was incredible to spend the day exploring such a beautiful site and we are so grateful to everyone involved, both in making the bioblitz such a success through their dedicated recording and species identification, and everyone who has given their time and effort to help improve Heworth Holme over the last few years. Our volunteer team are just incredible and we so appreciate all of your hard work. We would also like to thank FrogLife who helped us to run this bioblitz, leading on the bat walk and moth trapping.
And watch this space, in another two years, the species count might have doubled again!
If you would like to get involved with the work we are doing at Heworth Holme, or if you would like to find out more about surveying opportunities, please email our Ecology Officer, Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org.