Kids blitz Lihou headland for all creatures great and small

LIHOU headland was abuzz with schoolchildren searching for all manner of birds, beasties and sea creatures for the second BioBlitz of the year.

The event aims to record as many species as possible from a site in one day, which will be input into a database.

Guernsey biodiversity officer Julia Henney said the event enabled better understanding of Guernsey nature and provided an opportunity for schools to get involved in searching for and recording wildlife.

Experts worked with about 140 Year 5 and 6 students from Vale Primary and La Houguette schools to record wildlife. Students ran around the area with bug nets and jars exploring and adding to the total species count, overseen by professionals.

Among the many insect species, bird observations, and wildflower sightings, Ms Henney said the beewolf predator wasp, brown argus butterfly, and scaly crickets were some of the more interesting and interesting species.

La Societe Guernesiaise education officer Becky Ogier said it was a brilliant way for children to make a meaningful contribution to collecting data that informs future conservation efforts.

‘The autumn BioBlitz is a great opportunity for young people to learn about many aspects of Guernsey’s wildlife from our local experts in botany, ornithology and entomology and other ecology fields,’ she said.

‘Together we will create a picture of a “moment in time” in the island’s natural history.’

The data gathered from the day will inform future conservation efforts as well as allow researchers to see environmental changes over time.

Broadcaster and wildlife expert Nick Baker joined the BioBlitz team.

‘I think everyone here today can see how important this is for the students,’ said Mr Baker.

‘What we’re seeing is the beginnings of science. Science is not a serious matter, it’s play, discovery, and learning about the world around us.

In the time he had been in Guernsey, Mr Baker said he has seen lots of wildlife he had never seen before. He was particularly excited about seeing mole crickets, scaly crickets and gribbles – small crustaceans found in rocky tide pools.

‘Nothing exists in isolation. Everything is connected. This BioBlitz gets kids out in nature and helps them focus on the little things all around them. We want people to love where they live and come from because when you love something you take care of it.’

Ben Gibson, nine, said he found two leaf hopper insects. He toted the two ‘best friends’ around in a jar.

The highlight for Lilly Alderson and Amira Le Poidevin was seeing two different species of butterflies.

‘I wanted to collect a grasshopper for my whole life,’ said Mandee Chin, nine, as she showed off her grasshopper in a jar.

‘I love them because they jump so high and they are so cute.’

The BioBlitz was hosted by the Biodiversity Partnership, Guernsey Biological Records Centre, La Societe Guernesiaise and the Pollinator Project.

It was sponsored by the States of Guernsey’s Strategy for Nature fund.

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