Worcestershire Field Recorder Days

Rachel Davies is the BioLinks Project Officer for the West Midlands and has some amazing field recorder days planned for this year. Read on to hear how you can get involved and build your invertebrate field skills...

Our West Midlands programme for 2021 has launched and, alongside our exciting courses led by expert tutors, we also have our Field Recorder Days. Read on to find out more about these days…

What are Field Recorder Days?

Field Recorder Days are an opportunity for people to join FSC BioLinks staff and carry out a range of different invertebrate sampling techniques. Sessions will differ depending on the desired outcome and the interests of those participating.

Some sessions will have a strong focus on sampling and specimen collection, where other sessions will focus primarily on identification and recording.

A range of people come on these days from beginner to those more experienced, but regardless of experience levels, these days offer a great opportunity to explore, try different sampling techniques and meet other recorders.

An FSC BioLinks project staff member will always be on-hand to guide the day and offer support where needed.

What sort of sampling techniques will we use?

Each Field Recorder Day will have a different focus and therefore different sampling techniques will be used depending on the target groups. Some days we will have a set survey to carry out, where we use a specific sampling technique, and on other days, we will be doing more general recording and so will be able to use a variety of sampling techniques.

We have three Field Recorder Days coming up in the West Midlands during the remainder of 2021:

20/10/2021- River Severn Freshwater Invertebrates

We’ll be heading down to Dowles Brook, Bewdley, sampling freshwater invertebrates. This day will have a strong focus on specimen collection as we need specimens for a freshwater teaching collection.

Kick sampling is a standard method used for sampling river invertebrates. It involves disturbing the material on the bed of a river or stream and collecting invertebrates dislodged in the process. A standard kick sample is 3 minutes in duration, with an additional 1 minute of stone-washing. As different invertebrates will be found in different habitats, it is important to sample all habitat types during a sample, for example shallow edges, marginal vegetation, fast-moving riffles. Once a sample has been collected it requires hand sorting to remove any invertebrate specimens for collection and identification.

10/11/2021 Bishops Wood Pitfall Trapping

We’ll be at Bishops Wood, Stourport-on-Severn, setting dry pitfall traps in preparation of the Ground Beetle ID course the following day. Once the required number of pitfalls have been set, we will spend the rest of the day doing general invertebrate recording.

Pitfall trapping is a standard method used to survey ground-active invertebrates. It involves sinking a small container (usually cups for invertebrates) into the ground, ensuring that the top of the container is level with the soil surface. Any invertebrates moving across the ground can fall into the trap and, due to the smooth edges, they cannot escape unless you release them. Traps can be set as ‘dry traps’ to capture live invertebrates, or ‘wet traps’ to capture and kill invertebrates (for specimen collection). Pitfall traps can be let in-situ for varying lengths of time, depending on the survey aims, but they do require regular emptying. Samples obtained from pitfall traps require hand sorting to remove any invertebrate specimens for identification.

18/11/2021 Bishops Wood Freshwater Invertebrates

We’ll be back at Bishops Wood, Stourport-on-Severn, sampling freshwater invertebrates in the on-site ponds.

Pond dipping is the common term used to describe taking samples from ponds. It involves using a pond net to collect invertebrate samples from different habitats. A standard sample is 5 minutes in duration and involves passing the net through the different habitat types present, for example open water, reedbeds, submerged vegetation. Once a sample has been collected it requires hand sorting to remove any invertebrate specimens for collection and identification.

Why will we be collecting specimens on these days?

Sometimes we need to collect specimens for educational purposes- such as creating a teaching collection or a reference collection. These collections are very important.

There are also some invertebrates that cannot be identified in the field, and we need to collect and preserve some specimens for identification using a microscope.

What happens to the biological records created on these days?

We submit all of the records created during all of our activities to the BioLinks Activity on iRecord.

On each Field Recorder Day, we will ask people how they would like their records recorded. Some people will choose to keep their own list and will submit records through the Biolinks Activity on their personal iRecord account. Other people will note down their records and give them to the BioLinks staff at the end of the day, so they can be entered through the BioLinks iRecord account.

Either way is fine- the important thing is that records are getting written down and there is a plan in place to ensure they are submitted through iRecord.

How do I book?

Although free to attend, spaces must be booked on these events. You can find our Field Recorder Days alongside the full West Midlands BioLinks programme on the FSC website: https://www.field-studies-council.org/biolinks-courses/