Visitors get stuck in to track down species at 24-hour bio-blitz

UP CLOSE From left, Jack Martin, Harry Martin and Cai Wishart with a slowworm. Picture: Allan Hutchings (132228-883)
UP CLOSE From left, Jack Martin, Harry Martin and Cai Wishart with a slowworm. Picture: Allan Hutchings (132228-883)
Andy Elmes on stage with the church band.''Picture Credit: Keith Woodland

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A 24-HOUR species hunt was held at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

The BioBlitz event aimed to introduce visitors to the vast bio-diversity within the park, near Waterlooville.

Over 24-hours from 4pm on Saturday until 4pm yesterday, staff and volunteers tried to find as many different species as they could.

There was plenty for families to see and do including pond dipping, craft activities and a series of walks and talks about different species such as reptiles, butterflies and spiders.

Tim Speller who works at the park, organised the event. He said: ‘It’s about trying to find the full extent of the biodiversity within the park.

‘For us here that’s 2,000 acres. It’s about bringing together the species experts and the people who are regularly recording Hampshire’s biodiversity with the general visitor who doesn’t generally get to experience that sort of thing.

‘We had experts here and all sorts of knowledgeable and enthusiastic people that are wanting to know more.

‘A lot of our general visitors know and love the park but unless they come to a biodiversity event aren’t aware that it’s as diverse a site as anywhere.

‘People don’t often think of us as being an important area of conservation.’

And Tim said the weekend was a resounding success, with more than 700 species being recorded.

‘It has been brilliant,’ he said. ‘We have had some good comments. People are coming from far afield.

‘There aren’t many of these taking place in the country. People have come a long way. For those people taking part they all get together and there’s a bit of a party atmosphere.’

Different events took place over the 24-hour period with walks going on through the night and again when dawn broke yesterday.

All the species will be recorded by the Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre.