- Explore community
The Lockhaugh Garden Bioblitz was conceived in response to the National Garden Bioblitz, that took place on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June 2013. The national event used the Open University’s iSpot website www.ispot.org.uk as a tool to help support the identification of wildlife noted in participants’ gardens and so did this event.
The Lockhaugh Garden Bioblitz’s core objectives were to:
• Record as many wildlife species in adjoining Lockhaugh gardens as possible in one day
• Provide for local people an enjoyable, and fun activity studying wildlife in their ‘back yards’
• Promote the Open University’s iSpot website
• Demonstrate how important for wildlife, sites such as gardens can be
The Lockhaugh event was staged between 9am on Saturday 1st June and the same time on Sunday 2nd. The event was held in part of a suburban housing estate, Lockhaugh, in Rowlands Gill in the lower Derwent valley, which is located not far from the A1 and the Gateshead MetroCentre, in the western part of Gateshead Borough, Tyne & Wear (Ordnance Survey 315 Newcastle upon Tyne 1:25 000, Explorer Map). All of the owners of properties along parts of Glamis Crescent and Thornley Lane (28 in total), were encouraged to take part. If viewed from above, these properties are arranged with their gardens abutting each other. Effectively, the central space between the houses is ‘all garden’, apart from the boundaries and fence lines, covering an area of around 0.8 hectares.
Participants were informed that if they couldn’t identify things they could take photos and pass these on to the organisers for identification support using iSpot. The Open University’s Biodiversity Mentor for the North of England was available to participants throughout the day to help and put names to the things that participants couldn’t. Identification were made available, to consult over biscuits and beverages, at the Mentor’s home.
Whilst the event had some serious, scientific foundation, it was largely intended to be fun and friendly, and to encourage community participation in the process of recording wildlife. In addition to the participants’ general wildlife recording, the Biodiversity Mentor undertook some other ‘wildlife activities’ for local people based around the 'collective' garden, including bat detecting and moth trapping.
The results. Wildlife recording took place in eleven of the 28 gardens within the defined area and at least 18 different people took part in the event. A total of 90 species were recorded, the most commonly recorded group was wild plants (30 species were noted) many of which were those that would normally be considered ‘weeds’ in the context of gardens; including dog violet and germander speedwell. Also noted were 24 different bird species, including great spotted woodpecker, buzzard and red kites overhead. Clearly a number of the birds roamed through a few of the gardens being recorded here and there; as did a grey squirrel.
Records of 88 species were uploaded to the iRecord system, for the National Garden Bioblitz and a number of images of species seen on the day were uploaded onto iSpot. A short report was produced and circulated around all of the 28 potentially participating households, with a view to encouraging greater participation next year, should the exercise be repeated.