Wednesday, 15 May 2019

iNaturalist App For Biological Recording

Taking a photo to upload to the iNaturalist app.

New Ferry Butterfly Park has welcomed students from Liverpool John Moores University every year. Now they have welcomed an intern from LJMU, in partnership with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and the Merseyside Biobank, for the Greenspace and Biodiversity Challenge to carry out some biological recording using the iNaturalist app!

Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) found in the pond at the Butterfly Park

It may have been a bit of a grey day on Thursday 9th May but that didn’t stop students from LJMU Conservation Society joining the intern, Vicky Handby, and the volunteers to have an evening BBQ and wildlife recording session. The event started off with a pond dip, to search out the smooth newts and various other aquatic life like water boatmen, mayflies and diving beetle larvae. Once that fun was over we enjoyed a nice sausage or two from the BBQ before heading off on a tour given by Paul Loughnane, honorary secretary of Wirral Countryside Volunteers.

Paul showing the LJMU students around the Butterfly Park

We started the tour with Paul explaining some of the plants found within the acid grassland and around the pond and why these are vital for different species such as sheep sorrel which allows the small copper caterpillars to thrive within the area. Following Paul further into the park we found lots of common species like hawthorn, broom, cowslip, mistletoe and alder buckthorn, to name a few. Checking under the logs for mini beasts it was lovely to see some saproxylic invertebrates like woodlouse and centipedes further the decaying wood which has a vital role in the ecosystem. It was then over to the little herb garden area to guess the various types of herbs that had been planted like lemon balm, rosemary and thyme. In previous years the Conservation Society at LJMU have helped with the making of hedgerows so it was nice to see that hedgerow still thriving with dogwood, field maple and spindle.

Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), found at the edge of the pond at the Butterfly Park 

The tour was a wonderful success at achieving what we set out to do: gain more observations of species and learn more about our local green space. With the help of New Ferry Butterfly Park, the Greenspace and Biodiversity Challenge managed to gain at least 80 more observations on that day. The species seen on this day were all added to the iNaturalist app for biological recording data. This is vital for record keeping, research, protection of our greenspaces and conservation efforts. With this knowledge we can ensure our local wildlife is protected and monitored for future generations to enjoy. Currently there are over 26,000 observations within the Liverpool City Region with 222 individuals adding to this growing number. The Wirral has contributed to over 2,000 of those observations. It is a brilliant opportunity to showcase what Liverpool City Region has to offer!

Columbine (Aquilegia), also found at the Butterfly Park

So, if you want to get involved with the challenge, download the iNaturalist app on your phone, get outside, take a picture of what you see and upload it. Or join us on one of the many events going on in the region which can be found via our Facebook page:

Link to the iNaturalist app:

Vicky Hanby

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