BioBlitz in Drubazas observed 577 species

On the 3rd and 4th of June, the first 24-hour BioBlitz organized by the Latvian Fund for Nature took place at the “Drubazas” farm on the shore of river Abava (Latvia), which is located in Ancient valley of Abava nature park. The participants of the event, together with experts of various species groups, got to know the natural values of “Drubazas”, the wealth of which is ensured by long-term nature-friendly farming in this place.
The list of species observed during the BioBlitz includes 577 species. The total number of species on the farm, of course, is much higher, but it should be noted that many species groups (for example, soil invertebrates) were not searched at all, many species cannot be identified without sampling and the maximum number of species observed was not the only goal – it was equally important to introduce the nuances of species identification and detection methods, as well as to enjoy the joy of walking in nature and looking for species together.
The days of the event were windy and cool and this also affected the species sightings – many insects such as butterflies were less active. However, it was possible to see and photograph the ones that were spotted better, because they were slower due to the coolness.
Insect species were searched both during the day in meadows and forest edges, and after dark, using the lighting method. Among the most interesting insect finds, we should mention the violet oil beetle Meloe violaceus recorded in the Red Book (Latvian “Red List”), the specially protected marsh fritillary Euphydryas aurinia and jet ant Lasius fuliginosus. Although there are many sightings of the jet ants on the nature observation portal, the detection of the species is significant, as it indicates a suitable habitat for other rare and specially protected species.
The woundwort shieldbug Eysarcoris venustissimus found in “Drubazas” is interesting as a new find of the species, located far to the north-northwest of other previously known finds in Latvia. Also worth mentioning are the meadow brown Maniola jurtina and the black hairstreak Satyrium pruni, as they are not often noticed. A total of 199 species of invertebrates were found, the largest number being 83 species of moths and 45 species of beetles.
The participants of the event got to know the rich plant community of “Drubazas”, including the special species of the alkaline fens on the slope and the dry grasslands in the calcareous soils. 11 of the found plant species are specially protected or listed in the Latvian Red Book (for example, Orchis militaris, Gymnadenia conopsea, Pinguicula vulgaris, Crepis praemorsa).
On the second day of the event, aquatic plants were familiarized by boating along Abava, and according to their species composition, the water quality of Abava was jointly assessed (it corresponded to the “average” category). The list of plant species found at the event includes a total of 268 vascular plant species.
A separate excursion was dedicated to mosses, during which 47 species of mosses were counted, mainly in the park-like landscape and the alkaline fens on the slope.
Using a special device – an ultrasound detector, it was possible to detect three species of bats in the evening – the northern bat Eptesicus nilssoni, the Nathusius’ pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii and the pond bat Myotis dasycneme, which are protected on a European scale.
The most interesting bird species observed was the specially protected the Eurasian hoopoe Upupa epops, whose song could be heard during the plant and insect familiarization tours on the first day of the BioBlitz, but it was not possible to see the bird. It was found that three tawny owl Strix aluco baby owls are growing in the owl cage on the farm. The participants of the morning excursion learned to recognize the songs and appearance of various meadow and scrub birds, including admiring the singing magnificent male of the common rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus.
Observations of the species observed during the BioBlitz supplement the species database of the portal, which is used for research and nature protection.


The news items collected on this blog have been written by project partners of the LIFE ENPLC project.