Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

13-07-2017: Counting on you to help us count wildlife this summer

We’ve had a really busy July so far, and we have some surveys this month where we need your help.

We had a fantastic turn out at the Tolworth Court wildlife walks on the 1st of July - run for London Rivers Week with other local conservation organisations. Large groups were able to see the slow worms on the University site as well as looking for dragonflies, small mammals and birds on the Tolworth Court Moated Manor Nature Reserve.

KUBAG joined the Outreach Team from the Faculty of Science Engineering and Computing, at one of the Big Bang London events. These events are geared to showcase inspiring approaches to Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths, to inspire the next generation to study these subjects as they think about higher education and what they can do as they get older.
Hampton Court Flower Show eat your heart out :)
The team were great, we set up the event to reflect the science behind pollination, one of the activities used giant flowers, bottle bees and magnets as a stand in for static electricity to raise the awareness of how pollinators work.

Last Saturday had the University hosting a London Wildlife Trust Dragonfly Identification training event for local volunteers and charities. You can read all about it in the blog written by the Environment Trust.
David showing the team how to ID wildlife via different methods
The Water for Wildlife project which ran the training event is keen to get local volunteers surveying dragonflies and damselflies. You can get involved in non-site specific surveying for the project by becoming a Dragonfly Detective!
Damselfly in hand, being handled by experts to show trainees identification markings
As well as joining in the main surveys we’ll be setting up mini surveys on the university sites to feed into this brilliant project.

If you are interested in taking part, email to regularly survey the Penrhyn Road, Knights Park/Middle Mill, Kingston Hill and Seething Wells all of which have water bodies on or near the site and have past records of at least one species of dragonflies and damselflies. We need your help us improve our records, ID can be tricky as shown in the images below as you need to look for the detail, which is why we are asking for photographs of animals spotted, to help ID.
Species ID still to be determined - what do you all think?

Mating Azure Damselflies 
At Knights Park you are nearly guaranteed to see banded demoiselles. The image below shows a male and female for comparison.
Female Banded Demoiselle - green in colour
A view you may be more familiar with at KP, as they tend to orientate themselves towards the river
Male Banded Demoiselle - has the bands in its wings that give this species its common name
We saw some great species on the training day as the ET blog discusses, what made my day was seeing the Emperor Dragonfly catch a female Banded Demoiselle in flight and then retire to a nearby balsam plant to eat her! Take a look at this fantastic photograph by Agostina Campodonico, showing the Emperor having his dinner.

Speaking of surveys, we’re running the annual butterfly count surveys at all of the University sites again this year as part of the National Big Butterfly Count.

Who do you think I am?
We are looking for surveyors for all of our sites listed at the end of the blog.

If you have a free 25 mins anywhere between the 14th of July and the 6th of August, and are looking for an excuse to enjoy the sunshine (butterfly counts rely on good weather) please email me ( to let me know which of our sites you would like to survey and I can send you the ID sheet and instructions for the event.

1.   Penrhyn Road garden with pond
2.   Cooper House planting
3.   Reg Baily
4.   Surrey Club
5.   KU Nursery
6.   Middle Mill halls of residence
7.   Knights Park River Terrace
8.   Kingston Bridge House halls of residence
9.   Clay Hills halls of residence
10. Seething Wells halls of residence
11. Tolworth Court Sports Field
12. River House (rear area next to gardens)
13. Hind Court (and surrounding areas)
14a. Kingston Hill Wildflower Meadow
14b. Kingston Hill LRC green wall and meadow
14c. Kingston Hill Nature trail
15. Dorich House
16. Roehampton Vale
17. St Georges Teaching Hospital

If you happen to see any dragonflies or damselflies during the butterfly count, please take images and send them over as well, as it would be great to get records for all of our sites.

Until next time, enjoy the summer.

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