Sustainability Action Blog


BioBlitz 2015: Hundreds search for Southampton’s wildlife

By Julia Kendal |


On Saturday 5th June over 200 people gathered on the University’s Highfield Campus to hunt for local wildlife. The Southampton BioBlitz brought together the public and wildlife experts to search for and identify mini-beasts, birds, bats, plants, moths and much more on the University campus and adjacent area of the Common.


Credit: Photographer and videographer Santiago Rivero

To mark the beginning of the BioBlitz week, the University and City demonstrated their joint commitment to care for local wildlife at a tree planting ceremony. Two hawthorn trees were planted by the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Adam Wheeler and the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Linda Norris, at Portswood Recreation Ground on the 2nd of June. The ceremony was attended by the university staff and the local community, including Year 7 pupils from Cantell school who took part in a ‘mini’-BioBlitz‘ of their school grounds prior to the main BioBlitz event.


During the BioBlitz itself, local experts led nature walks, helping the public to identify the wildlife they found, beginning with a bat walk for 60 people on the Friday night. The Saturday activities kicked off with an early morning bird walk, spotting 26 different species of birds. Throughout the day Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (HBIC) kept count of species found. By 4pm 257 species has been identified in total – 30 more than the previous year (read more about that here). With some trickier species still being identified, the final results will be even higher.


Credit: Photographer and videographer Santiago Rivero


Credit: Photographer and videographer Santiago Rivero

As well as the guided walks, there were stalls from local wildlife groups, including Friends of Weston Shore, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, as well as face-painting and the opportunity to make bird-feeders and wildlife inspired bunting and badges. The High-Tech Wild-Trek trailer was on site, a fully equipped mobile ecology lab complete with pond-dipping. People also had the opportunity to try buffalo worm sausage rolls and mealworms on offer from the Bug Shack, promoting edible (and only edible!) insects as a sustainable alternative source of protein. Opinion was divided on these (I myself found them surprisingly flavoursome!).

Southampton BioBlitz is part of a BioBlitz homepage to empower the public to be citizen scientists, learning to identify the wildlife found in their local green spaces. This event was organised in partnership by the University of Southampton and its Students’ Union, Southampton City Council and the Southampton Natural History Society.

See the story of the day on Storify and more of the action on Youtube

Credit: Photographer  and videographer Santiago Rivero.