The Tale of Timothy Grassbug

…and other stories of wildlife recording.

During the first 10 years at Denmark Farm, an intensive programme of wildlife surveys was carried out to monitor the restoration of the site from intensively managed grassland to a mosaic of wildlife-rich habitats.

The vast amounts of records in filing cabinets and boxes bear testimony to the huge amount of work which was carried out by our founders Neil and Barbara Taylor, and a range of specialist ecologists.

Our monitoring and recording today is carried out on a more informal basis by visitors, volunteers, local experts and course participants, who provide us with a list of their ‘finds’.

Bug hunt, with invertebrate specialist Phil-the-Bugman

Roesel’s bush-cricket

These records are invaluable as they enable us to build a picture of the species using the site. Occasionally, we even discover a new species! During a recent Meadows Day, one of our local experts recorded the Roesel’s bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii):

The species is thought to be gradually spreading West and North in the UK in response to a warming environment, and this was only the second record in Ceredigion.

Timothy Grassbug

Another recent ‘first’ for the site was a ‘Timothy grassbug’  (Stenotus binotatus), identified by an invertebrate specialist from the Colliary Spoil Biodiversity Initiative in South Wales whilst carrying out bumblebee training on the site. The bug itself is not particularly glamorous (although it’s Beatrix Potter-style name is rather endearing!)  but it just goes to show what you can find if you look.

Recording and surveying are vital to the future conservation of our UK wildlife – without knowing where our wildlife is, how can we conserve it? The wildlife records from Denmark Farm are submitted to our local records centre (LRC),  West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre which covers Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Each area of the UK has their own LRC;  you can find yours here.

Records are increasingly used by local councils and governmental organisations on which to base decisions on the environment. So all records – even if you think they are ‘common’ species – are valuable. Whilst you may not know your Timothy grassbug from your Bertie beetle (OK, we made that one up!), there are plenty of sites such as ispot and irecord, and a range of Facebook groups where keen specialists are waiting to identify your photos! And of course we provide a whole range of species identification courses here at Denmark Farm too.

So the next time you see a bird, amphibian, or an interesting insect, why not submit your record to your local records centre?

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