Pupils join nature experts on Bioblitz and bug hunt at Speke and Garston Coastal Reserve

South Liverpool school pupils were among those who joined leading experts on wildlife, birds and mini beasts at the Speke and Garston Coastal Reserve to help find, identify and record local species as part of a scientific Bioblitz event.

More than 100 people participated in the two day event, which included nature walks led by representatives from the RSPB, the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and other experts from the University of Manchester, Liverpool John Moores University, Bolton Museum and World Museum.  A group of 8 to 10 year olds from Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School, who form their school council, took part in collecting bugs and identifying and recording the species to present back to their classmates.

Class teacher, Laura Towers, from Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School, said: “The visit to Speke Garston Coastal Reserve formed part of our project focusing on the natural environment and was a brilliant way for the pupils to get involved in recognising and identifying different species of insects. We spotted butterflies, beetles and caterpillars and shared our findings with the rest of the class.”

The Bioblitz was organised by the Coastal Reserve Steering Group partners Peel, Liverpool City Council, the Liverpool Sailing Club and The National Trust.   

Rob Monaghan, Chair of the Coastal Reserve Steering Group said “The event was designed to encourage local people to learn more about their environment while helping the steering group to gather important scientific evidence of the wildlife present on site.”

David Thompson, development planning manager for Peel Land and Property, who own the Coastal Reserve, said: “It was great to see local children and families taking part in the Bioblitz activities, and enthusiastically learning about their natural environment. The Bioblitz event will provide new important scientific information on the wildlife using the site and we were delighted to have so many experts actively involved.

“The Speke and Garston Coastal Reserve is a great natural resource for the local community and we’re keen to encourage the enjoyment of the area whilst learning more about local species that live there.  We are grateful to all those who took part in the event and particularly to the Liverpool Sailing Club who provided the base camp for our activities.”

The Reserve comprises 70 acres of land stretching from Garston to Liverpool John Lennon Airport on the banks of the Mersey Estuary. With spectacular panoramic views across the Mersey Estuary, it provides a great location for walking, bird watching, relaxing and organised sailing.

Chris Tynan, Liverpool RSPB leader, who hosted several bird walks during the event, said: “The reserve offers the perfect setting to spot some fantastic birds and wildlife. It was great to be part of the Bioblitz and help to educate local people about wildlife.”

Species identified during the weekend event included water birds the Shelduck and Grey Heron, seabirds and waders such as the Whimbrel and Oystercatchers, woodland birds including the Chiffcaff and a high circling Kestrel. Insects and minibeasts identified included the Brimstone, Peacock, Orange Tip and White butterflies plus bees, beetles and caterpillars. A twilight bat walk also took place, where participants learnt how to spot and identify local bats.

The ecologists and specialists are now assessing the specimens and information they collected and a report documenting their findings will be published before the end of the year.  A copy of the report will be included on Peel and Liverpool City Council’s websites.

The new information collected is also expected to be added to the Merseyside BioBank.  This Biobank is the Local Records Centre for Merseyside, where biological and environmental information is collected and is made available to people interested in knowing more about their local environment.  The Biobank can be accessed via: http://www.merseysidebiobank.org.uk/

The Speke and Garston Coastal Reserve can be accessed off Blackburn Street or via Speke Hall, where the National Trust offer a 2.4 mile trail from their site into the Coastal Reserve. Visitors entering the reserve through Speke Hall will need to pay an entrance fees to enter the Hall gardens.

For more information about the Coastal Reserve please visit:
http://www.oceangateway.co.uk/projects/speke-garston-reserve
http://liverpool.gov.uk/coastalreserve
http://www.liverpoolsailingclub.org/
For more details on the National Trust trail visit:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/speke-hall-garden-and-estate/trails/the-garston-coastal-reserve-trail

 

Bioblitz