Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Biodiversity Gatwick 2016: Highlights and lowlights

1. Highlight: All our biodiversity interpretation boards were installed, including images of notable species to be found around Gatwick.

Tom S., Robert and Harry of the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership



Lowlight: Forgetting to include any representatives of an entire taxonomic kingdom...


2. Highlight: Yet another year with our superb ecology volunteers carrying out record numbers of surveys; we seriously cannot thank you enough!



Lowlight: The state of my car by the end of summer.






3. Highlight: Of all the new species this year to Gatwick, I think the Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) was my favourite, singing in the scrub west of Brockley Wood. 



Lowlight: My least favourite new species for Gatwick was Ash Dieback disease (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus), now prevalent around the South East UK.

Shriveled and blackened leaves in summer

Diamond-shaped lesions around buds

4. Highlight: iRecord became available as a phone app, meaning I can now record wildlife anywhere in the UK, 24 hours a day!


Lowlight: The Wood Mouse population reached apocalyptic levels, meaning this was what I was mostly recording...

Our most recorded mammal in a single day

You again?

5. Highlight: After the fish removal from Pond 3, this year Great Crested Newts are back laying eggs!


Lowlight: Conducting amphibian surveys + leaking wellies = athletes foot



6. Highlight: Gatwick's Biodiversity Action Plans scooped another award this year and also got a mention in the International Airport Review.






Lowlight: All of our restored meadow grasslands, rich in wildflower and grass species, in which we take so much pride, are slowly trying to kill me.



7. Highlight: Discovering our first Slow Worm in Ashley's Field, a new reptile record for the Gatwick sites!

Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)

Lowlight: Discovering our first Slow Worm poo.



8. Highlight: We hosted even more wildlife events for biological recorders, Gatwick staff and the general public.



Lowlight: Probably the wettest, most unpredictable set of wildlife events we've ever had

Tom S. models the latest in binbag fashion-wear



9. Highlight: I am finally making good progress with the malaise trap invertebrate sorting, with excellent volunteer help and the Sussex Wildlife Trust lending us their classroom!

Entomological enthusiasts Ryan Mitchell and Natalie Kay

Lowlight: Cranefly legs have become a living nightmare.




10. Highlight: The work of our excellent conservation volunteer groups, led by Tom Simpson, has resulted in great feedback from the general public about our sites.



Lowlight: Some not-so-lovely feedback from the public.


2017, here we come!