Sunday, 5 June 2011

Yesterday's Bio-blitz

Saturday 4th June -  Derwent Valley Bio-Blitz

When I got to the Derwent valley where it was being held there were some worries due to the weather and  certainly there would be very few flying insects about, but overnight the weather had been better so the moths should not have been effected, as proved by the numbers in my trap.

We had two traps set up running at Lockhaugh Farm near Rowlands Gill and after a nice bacon & egg butty at the burger van, went to work. I opened the first trap and there wasn't a huge amount but a nice selection including a couple of both Poplar and Elephant Hawkmoths, always popular with visitors. A few I couldn't id straight away and a few of the more colourful moths were potted up and taken with the second trap back to Thornley Woodland Centre to be opened in front of the visitors. We opened the second trap (after a well deserved cuppa) and 'processed' the contents. One moth stood out when I turned over one of the egg cartons, it was a Saxon, new for me and Gateshead. This was confirmed and put on show with the rest of the interesting ones. In total there were 88 moths of 45 species. Obviously all this is off-site so none will be going on my lists unfortunately.

The Saxon - perhaps only the 2nd county record
It was poor for other flying insects and by lunchtime there only 1 dragonfly (a Banded Demoiselle) and 1 butterfly (a Small Heath) had been seen. The birdwatchers from the Durham Bird Club had just a hard time and when I saw were desperately trying to find a Tree-creeper. With a professional botanist I did a bit of plant hunting around the Swalwell Visitor Centre and we got approaching 200 species species of plant including Common Twayblade in the meadow which was the first record for the site. By early afternoon I heard the total was well over 600 species and as I was dead on my feet I called it a day.


  1. Well done on being part of what was a record breaking 24hrs, Keith.
    And congratulations regards the Saxon. That is one fine looking moth.

  2. Well worth getting knackered for Keith.

  3. Thanks lads, it certainly was worth it and a bit of fun to boot. I think everyone involved complained about the weather but still enjoyed it.