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Volunteers and organisations come together for 24 hour wildlife survey

The recording of wildlife was led by Greater Manchester Ecology Unit and supported by the Natural Course project.

By understanding the ecology of the land The Woodland Trust can implement informed improvement measures for the benefit of wildlife in the area.

The aim of the day was to encourage staff, volunteers and members of the public to record as many species as possible over 24 hours. The evening before featured the nocturnal adventures of live moth trapping and a bat walk.

During the day of the event, staff led popular wildlife walks and a team of wildlife recorders visited many parts of the site, carefully noting down every species that they were able to find and identify. Meanwhile, a range of local conservation organisations also had stalls and ran activities.

“We had a great turn out of volunteers coming to help out on The Woodland Trust’s 24 hour challenge," said Mike Beard, Natural Course Project Officer at GM Local Record Centre. "It was a really busy day and we led the wildlife counting effort."

“We were delighted to have help from volunteers at Salford Friendly Anglers and Mersey Basin Rivers Trust, as well as many other naturalists who love coming out to study wildlife with the record centre.

“From kick sampling on the Dean Brook, a tributary of the River Irwell, to moth trapping and sweep netting in the woods and meadows, a wide selection of data was collected and will prove very useful when making decisions on improvement measures in the area.”

Mike Duddy, Chair of the Irwell Catchment Partnership added, “It was an exciting day, we’ve surveyed rivers in Greater Manchester many times before but were surprised to only find a low number of riverfly larvae called blue-winged olives (Serratella ignita) in Dean Brook, which raises many questions about the river environment and what might be effecting this particular river fly species.

"We’ll be joining up with some of the other organisations involved in invertebrates and water management to evaluate what this means for the health of the river.” 

The bioblitz is just one part of the Woodland Trust’s plans regarding the conservation of the Smithills Estate. 

To support their dedicated rangers, they have established a volunteer group and are holding series of wildlife survey training workshops.  More information about the estate and the training is available here.


Main image: Heather B. Studios