Hobson’s Brook BioBlitz took place on the 10th and 11th June 2017. The BioBlitz encompassed two separate sites, Nine Wells LNR near Great Shelford and Empty Common, near the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge. Forty experts and volunteers ran more than 20 one hour-long identification sessions at the two sites, and more than two hundred people participated in the event. The BioBlitz sessions covered mosses, vascular plants, small mammals, birds, bats, amphibians and reptiles, small mammals, moths, bugs, beetles and other insects, fish and freshwater invertebrates.
At Nine Wells, 166 different taxa were identified (mostly to species level). These species included 35 birds, 5 mammals, 2 fish, 50 invertebrates (including 30 different moths) and 74 different plant species.
At Empty Common, 233 different taxa were identified. These included 17 species of birds, 4 mammals, 2 fish, 1 reptile, 106 invertebrates (including 39 different moths) and 103 different plant species.
Together Nine Wells and Empty Common produced 323 different species. It is fascinating that the two sites only had 76 species in common, hinting at the diversity of habitat present along the Hobson’s Brook corridor.
BioBlitz highlights were the breeding Tawny Owls, Elephant Hawk-Moth, Soprano Pipistrelle Bats, Common Twayblade orchid and Deadly Nightshade at Nine Wells, and the Water Vole, Grass Snake, Flatworm, Water-violet and Black Poplar at Empty Common.
This event has emphasised the biodiversity of green spaces close to the built environment, and show the importance of the Hobson’s Brook ‘green corridor’ in preserving wildlife in the City of Cambridge. Maintaining a strong flow of high quality water in Hobson’s Brook is clearly essential for the continued success of these ecosystems, which offer considerable benefits to the people that live close by.
Dr Steve Boreham – BioBlitz Science Co-ordinator 23rd June 2017