At the end of May 2017 as part of our Nature Festival celebrations we had a 24 hour bio-blitz. Members of the general public, naturalists and ecologists alike gathered in Selborne to collect data that would give us snap shot into the daily lives of the natural world around us.
The count stretched from 10:30am Saturday 28th May through to 10:30am the next day, over that time over 300 species of animal and plant life were identified and counted.
Out of the plant life in Selborne we found an abundance of hedge woundwort, plants listed as frequent included Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Gypsywort, Rough Meadow-grass, Rusty Willow, White Clover, White Bryony, Great Willowherb and Hogweed. Square-stalked St John’s-wort was listed as an occasional appearance, and those listed as ‘present’ included Botryobasidium aureum, Evernia prunastri (a lichen), Wood Millet, Elder, Soft Brome, Oxeye Daisy and Sycamores. Listed as Rare included Cowslip, Rosebay Willowherb, and Wild Teasel. Despite having many types of orchids in our meadow the only orchid recorded is the common spotted.
Of the wildlife spotted there were 201 Common Pipistrelle bats spotted, 38 Serotine bats, and 10 soprano pipistrelle and a Western Barbastelle. In the water, we found 26 Palmate newts were spotted, 8 Great crested newts and 6 smooth newts, along with one Common Toad. Close to Gilbert White’s heart 20 House martins were recorded, 4 chiff-chaffs ( a bird differentiated by White), 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen, 3 Tawny Owls, 2 Kestrels, 2 swifts and a Barn owl.
Of the insect world identified were Garden and Cuckoo Bumblebees, Carder Bees, a caddisfly, various types of hoverfly, Large Red Damselfly, snails including rounded, white lipped and garden. Three types of ladybird were spotted as well as Rosemary and Green Dock beetles. Of Butterflies the list includes Orange tip, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and small magpie. Overnight we set up a moth trap and saw Barred Hook-tip, Chinese Character, Peach Blossom, Poplar and Elephant Hawk moths, Treble Brown Spot, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Small Seraphim and Silver Y just to name a few!
These were just some of the amazing wildlife to be found in and around Gilbert White’s garden, no wonder The Natural History of Selborne is so rich! The data collected by ecologist Lizzy Peat, FROM Hampshire Biological information centre (HBIC) will go towards a Modern Natural History of Selborne to be realised in 2020 as Gilbert White turns 300. If you wish to contribute why not come along to one of our nature events? And make sure you visit us next May for our 3rd annual Nature Festival on the 26th May 2018!