The Orkney Virtual Local Bioblitz - what it’s all about!

The Orkney Local Bioblitz, organised by Orkney Field Club, starts on Saturday 26th June, running for 24 hours from 12 noon on Saturday until 12 noon on Sunday 27th June.
Please take part! Make a list of all the wildlife you can identify at a place near where you live or in your garden over that time. Everything! And then tell us. You could do it on your own or with family or friends, whilst abiding by the remaining Government Covid-19 restrictions

Throughout the event the Orkney Field Club (OFC) wildlife recorders and experts will be around to help you. We’ll be on our special Facebook page, Orkney Bioblitz 2021 and you can also keep in touch through Twitter. Please send us your records by emailing us throughout the day and afterwards at [email protected]  Remember to use #orkneybioblitz2021 on Facebook and Twitter!

What is a Bioblitz?

A BioBlitz is a 24-hour event set up with the aim of identifying and recording as many wildlife species as possible. It’s a fun way to look closely at nature and learn more about our local wildlife whilst generating useful information (known as biological records) that are crucial for the work of conservationists. This is citizen science at its best!

Why a Virtual Bioblitz?

A BioBlitz would usually work by bringing wildlife experts and the general public together at a single site, and OFC has done this in the past, but last year because of Covid-19 restrictions it went virtual with the 2020 Garden Bioblitz. This proved hugely enjoyable and we realised that we could work with you all across Orkney, by each of us carrying out our own mini-BioBlitz wherever we are, and then combining all the sightings. Such was its popularity that we are running it again, on a different date and with less restriction on where you may go and who with.

Where can I do it?

We want wildlife records from your home and garden or somewhere close to where you live in Orkney. But please stay local - visit one place only, not far from where you live and not too big.

What Should I record?

Everything! Make a list of all wildlife you can see or hear. We want your help to record everything that’s wild in Orkney, whether or not it is native, ( If a species is not originally native to our area, it needs to have got here naturally, rather than having been planted or released.)

How should I record it?

Every wildlife sighting needs four key things to make it a really useful ‘biological record’: 

• Who you are

• What species

• Where you saw it

• When you saw it

You can make a list and email it to us at [email protected] Or you can use the form we have created as an attachment. This can be found on the Facebook page 

What if I don’t know what it is?

We are here to help with identifications and to share news of sightings! You can join and post pictures to our special Facebook page Orkney Bioblitz 2021 or tweet using #orkneybioblitz2021. Remember to use our # on any social media posts. Or email a picture to us. Mostly we will be able to identify it, or know somebody who can, if it can be identifiable from a photo.

It is important to bear in mind that there are very many species out there, some of which are very similar. It can be very difficult to identify some wildlife to species level, and impossible to work out some species from photos alone. We’ll be keeping a running total of all the kinds of wildlife we record over the 24 hours, noting down everything we can record to species level, and also making a note of anything else that we can only identify as far as group of species (genus) level.

How do I record where I am?

A six-figure National Grid Reference is best, which you can work out from an Ordnance Survey map, or fromwww.gridreferencefinder.com. However, if grid references are not your thing, then provide your postal address, or carefully describe the location of where you’ve seen the wildlife.

How do I let you know what I’ve seen?

Please email us your list at [email protected] , or if you prefer post it (address is on the form). We’ll be glad to take any records of small numbers of species from what you send us via social media during the event, but it will be easiest if you can put together a list and send it over. Get them in as soon as you can so we can share results quickly.

What will happen to the records?

We will add them all up, and let you know the grand total of how many species have been seen and news of any unexpected or special finds. This will be on our website and Facebook page.

All records collected will go into the county biological records databases, through the Orkney Wildlife and Information Centre (OWIRC) and relevant county recorders for different wildlife groups where appropriate. This will enable records to also enter the national recording schemes for all the different wildlife groups, thus contributing to the National Biodiversity Network Atlas Scotland.

Thanks and Good Luck!

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