BioBlitz event reveals thriving biodiversity at Countesswells

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In our latest monthly article from the Dee Catchment Partnership, we hear about a recent collaboration with the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership, which took the shape of a ‘BioBlitz’ event at the new housing development at Countesswells.

   

BioBlitz event reveals thriving biodiversity at Countesswells

A BioBlitz was recently held during an autumn weekend at Cults Burn Park, a landscaped green space at the heart of the new housing development in Countesswells.  An unfamiliar phrase to many of us, a BioBlitz is a defined time period in which members of the public and volunteers are helped by local experts to record as many wildlife species as they can within a defined area. The information they record provides a snapshot of the biodiversity of the area, which can be re-sampled at a later date to identify any changes. The event was jointly organised by the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership and Countesswells Development Ltd, with support from various organisations including the Dee Catchment Partnership.

This BioBlitz was different from those previously held in the North East, as Ewen Cameron, Chair of the Biodiversity Partnership’s Awareness & Involvement Group, explains: “This was the first time we’d organised a BioBlitz in a housing development, rather than say, a nature reserve or city park. Urban areas, where people live and work, can be just as important for our wildlife as nature reserves – wildlife can quite literally be found on your doorstep. We wanted to show people exactly what they’re sharing their green space with and how important it is to conserve and cultivate the biodiversity of the area.”

Appealing to a wide age range, the BioBlitz involved a full programme of activities including hunting for mini-beasts with rangers, identifying birds with the RSPB, a woodland walk with Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, and learning how your garden grows with the Biodiversity Partnership. Marina Piper, Outreach Officer for the Dee Catchment Partnership, explains: “Although the water levels were very low that day, we still managed to find a variety of species in the ponds including diving beetles, water boatmen and various larvae - much to the delight of local residents!”

   

The ponds are man-made, built as part of a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) at Countesswells, which holds excess water during periods of heavy rainfall, and releases it slowly back into the Cults Burn, before eventually returning it to the Dee. Marina continues: “SUDS are increasingly being built into new housing developments to reduce the risk of local flooding, improve habitats for wildlife, create valuable community spaces and improve access. They are a welcome addition to our towns and cities, providing a sustainable approach to tackling climate change and a growing population. The Countesswells development is a great example of how clever design and implementation can bring multiple benefits.”

A wildlife gardening demonstration was also given, to show the kinds of things people can do in their gardens to benefit wildlife. Ewen explains: “One of the aims of the BioBlitz was to help residents and visitors identify the important habitats on the development, and introduce them to the ways in which they could contribute to the existing and growing biodiversity of the area.”

The team was pleased with the results of the BioBlitz. “We found an abundance of insects, and different types of birds – largely thanks to the care that has been taken to minimise disruption to the local wildlife,” continues Ewen. “From planting native trees and wildflowers, to creating a green corridor between Hazelhead and Countesswells, and turning the previously canalised Cults Burn into a more natural watercourse, the developers have worked sensitively with the landscape and the natural environment, to the great benefit of the area’s biodiversity.”

BioBlitzes are being undertaken in all sorts of places by all sorts of groups.   If your group would like to find out more visit https://www.bnhc.org.uk/bioblitz/ .   

   


Previous Deeside Piper Articles

Reflections from the edge of the National Park - Article 5

Blue-green spaces to help reduce flooding in Aberdeen - Article 4
 
The banks of the Dee hold hidden treasures - Article 3

River Dee highlighted in local wildlife film - Article 2

Continuing the fight against invasive plants on Deeside - Article 1
 
Introducing the Dee Catchment Partnership - Intro Article

 

ENDS

Suggested photo caption: Residents and visitors get up close and personal with all manner of bugs and beasties at a recent BioBlitz event at Countesswells.

For media enquiries please contact:

Sally Wallis

sallywalliscopywriting@gmail.com

07961 980152

013398 85436

Associated Projects:

Blue-Green Infrastructure

DCP, Aberdeen City Council

Project Status: Current

The Dee Catchment Partnership are delivering a 3 year engagement programme for Aberdeen City Council (2016-2019). This is funded under the European Interreg 'BEGIN' project and focuses on engaging, educated and implementing several green-infrastructure measures throughout Aberdeen City. DCP will offer support:

  • Provide project advice, outreach support and design guidance through the working group
  • develop site specific information packs, posters, signage and events
  • assist with public consultations
  • Provide education sessions to local schools and interest groups
  • Prepare a storyboard for the SuDS video guide
  • Develop a blue-green infrastructure education pack
  • respond to information requests and research interests

The BEGIN project will see three sites being developed throughout Aberdeen City; Maidencraig Wetland and Flood Alleviation scheme, Fernielea Primary School refit and Summerhill Swale and miniture wetland.

More Information...