Kate Kirkwood, Climate Change Youth Project Officer for our Giving Nature a Home Project in Glasgow, looks back over this year's City Nature Challenge, the amazing response from people taking part across Scotland, some of the species recorded in Glasgow, and a survey we'd be grateful if you could take part in.
City Nature Challenge 2020 - what did you record?
City Nature Challenge is an international project to highlight nature in cities and encourage people to get involved in recording wildlife over which took place over the four-day period of 24th – 27th April 2020. Glasgow is one of over 200 cities worldwide, including nine other UK cities that take part annually. Our Giving Nature a Home Glasgow Project got involved last year to lead the city’s involvement. This year, many of the cities have been in lock down due to coronavirus, so in the UK we took a slightly different approach – people could take part from their gardens, on their balconies or out of their windows and it was opened up to anyone across the country.
Over the course of the weekend, we were delighted to have 106 participants recording 2086 observations from across Greater Glasgow, including experienced naturalists and many first-time recorders. In addition, people took part submitting records from as far north as Orkney, Annan in the south and widely across Scotland. You can see how Scotland faired by looking at the Map of Observations on the UK wide City Nature Challenge page.
With the increased numbers of observers across the city and Greater Glasgow area, we saw recordings of 589 different species. This spring has been warm and dry, which has been favourable for insects such as bumblebees, hawthorn shield bugs and hover flies. Observations of a cuckoo and a swallow are also good signs that summer is not far off. One fantastic highlight from Fiona Weir, Giving Nature a Home Project Manager, who heard peregrine falcons calling over central Glasgow before spotting them and being treated to an aerial display!
Some rare sightings found were a hoverfly Eumeris funeralis (Lesser Bulb-fly) at Old Station Park by naturalist and recorder Richard Weddle. This is a new species for the site and only the third time it has been recorded in Glasgow. It was also interesting to see ravens (Corvus corax) making the most of the lockdown quiet at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and museum, recorded by engineer Heather Leggate.
We also had good representation from our ambassador species, species that we have identifies as needing more conservation support in Glasgow. With house sparrows (Passer domesticus), and five different species of bumblebees recorded. As well as the European watervole (Arvicola amphibious) which is found in the east of Glasgow in grassland habitat.
Now that there have been thousands of wildlife observations across Glasgow and the rest of the UK, naturalists and biological recorders will now trawl through the photographs and descriptions to verify the records; identifying and confirming what people have seen. Over the next few weeks you may see your own records being verified by others across the UK and further afield. If you are confident in your identification skills, then you too can support this effort by agreeing with and suggesting identifications for others’ observations.
The Giving Nature a Home Glasgow team would like to extend our thanks to everyone who took part in the City Nature Challenge, we hope that you enjoyed yourselves, learned something new and were able to connect to nature in your garden, on your balcony or out of your window. Special thanks to our partners from Seven Lochs, as well as Glasgow and Edinburgh and Hamilton Natural History Societies, other wildlife partners and community groups across the city for taking part.
If you took part in this year's City Nature Challenge we'd be grateful if you could take a moment to fill out our survey about it here.
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