Brown trout electro-fished from the Scrape Burn during the Dawyck Botanic Garden BioBlitz.

Brown trout electro-fished from the Scrape Burn during the Dawyck Botanic Garden BioBlitz.

Over a 24 hour period from 5pm on the 24th July 2015 naturalists and the public joined forces to record as much wildlife as possible at Dawyck Botanic Garden. Specialists in lichens, fungi, mosses, liverworts, flowering plants and ferns based at the Edinburgh garden helped to swell the ranks of expert recorders to 30. They joined a team of people who amongst them included experts in spiders, slugs and snails, mammals, birds, moths, fungi and freshwater animals. This army of recorders was deployed across the site to leave no stone unturned in the search for species.

Now, just over a month after the event, we are finally in a position to give a full report of what was found. Inevitably some species are tricky to identify and second opinions sometimes need to be sought. So here is the breakdown based on the groups recorded:

Mammals 5; Birds 38; Reptiles and Amphibians 1; Butterflies 2; Moths 62; Hoverflies 4; Flies (other) 11; Beetles 3; Bugs 6; Bees, Wasps and Ants 10; Insects (other) 11; Spiders and Mites 15; Slugs and Snails 18; Woodlice and Crustaceans 3; Centipedes 1; Millipedes 1; Other Animals 2; Flowering Plants 124; Ferns 14; Mosses and Liverworts 144; Fungi 40 and Lichens 46.

Grand Total 561 species.

This BioBlitz is the third we have run and the sheer force of expert knowledge and number of people on the ground always seems to winkle out a few unusual records. This time was no exception and the notable records include the following species:

  • Dolichovespula saxonica – The Saxon wasp is a recent colonist from Europe that has been spreading north through Britain and is only know form a very few records in southern Scotland.
  • Andrena coitana – A small mining bee that is unusual throughout Britain and possibly declining in England.
  • Orthotrichum pumilum – A Nationally Rare moss that has only previously been recorded in Scotland at four localities.

Along with the experts around 200 visitors participated in moth trapping, sampling the Scrape Burn and joining a programmed of wildlife walks that ran throughout the day. The whole event was great fun, despite some damp weather, and really demonstrated that biological recording is something that we can all contribute to.