On Friday, I handed in my final year project and professional portfolio, and I genuinely can’t believe university life is coming to an end! The past three years flew past, and I still remember our first field trip so vividly. I will be putting a blog together reflecting on my university experience soon, but for now I want to share with you a fun and meaningful event that happened on Saturday – the BioBlitz and Garden Festival Penryn 2018!
BioBlitz Penryn is a free family fun day with the primary aim of exploring the wildlife in Penryn and the wider area. The day included wildlife activities, such as pond dipping and bird ringing, hands-on experiences with a range of animals, and performances from musicians and artists.
Right after the final hand-in (and celebrations at the Stannary) on Friday afternoon, we went around university to set up camera traps, hoping to capture some of the wildlife on campus. We collected the cameras on Saturday and looked through the memory cards to see what was captured. To our amusement, we found hyenas and sun bears on the cards, because they were not wiped from previous field trips. Captured on the camera traps were rabbits, a black bird, and a very bold squirrel who kept triggering one of the cameras.
In Tremough House, participants interacted with reptiles and bats and learned more about them.
Courtesy of the Cornwall Bat Group, I had my first close-up look at bats. I’ve always found them fascinating. They had two sleepy pipistrelles, a long-eared bat, and a noctule bat with them. The noctule bat was brought out of its enclosure to have its photo/video taken, and then it proceeded to pee when it was back into its enclosure!
Pond dipping had a massive turn-out – the volunteers struggled to fit everyone on the bank. Families found diving beetles, water boatmen, damselfly and dragonfly nymphs and newts at different life stages. One boy found an impressive (and huge) diving beetle. We also came across a pair of St. Mark’s flies mating: the female, which was larger in size, was dragging the male along as the male fly struggled to get a foothold. We had to move them to a safer place to prevent them from being accidentally trodden on.
Robbie and Ben demonstrated how they ring, age and sex birds, and explained the scientific benefits of ringing. Even though the conditions and time of day were not so suitable for bird ringing for the session in the afternoon, they still managed to ring a few birds, including male and female bullfinches, a pair of goldfinches, blue tits, a female blackbird, and a coal tit at the end.
Apparently it was the first time in years that BioBlitz had good weather the whole day (I actually got slightly sunburned on the nose). The warm day also provided lift and allowed buzzards to migrate over the channel, they have been spotted very high up over the campus. Here’s a short video I’ve put together of some of the activities on the day:
Thank you for reading and I hope you are enjoying the sun! I will be doing more blog posts now that I have a bit more time (after catching up on sleep!). I will also be sharing my final year project with you very soon so keep an eye out for it 😉
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