‘Helping wildlife’ – event report

Report on our event ‘Helping wildlife by submitting records…’

We kicked off the Spring–Summer 2019 programme of ‘Nature Talks and Walks’ on 28 April with a free event that looked at how we can all be ‘citizen scientists’ and not just spot wildlife but submit records of what we have seen.

The event began with a short talk in our Visitor Centre that explored why it is important for nature conservation that we submit records and explaining how to go about it. There was then a guided walk of the park to demonstrate how what was learned could be put into practice.

We are very grateful to Ian Carle from the Herts Environmental Records Centre for joining us on the event to provide his expert insight.

Many thanks, too, to Wendy Hartnell for the photo below, of an oak apple, which she took at the event. An oak apple is a gall made on oaks by a small wasp known by the scientific name of Biorhiza pallida. For the wasp’s larvae, the gall provides food and protection.

Oak apple gall (photo: Wendy Hartnell)

Another photo taken at the event was of a Cramp-ball Fungus-weevil (Platyrhinus resinosus), which was spotted on Cramp-ball Fungus (also known as King Alfred’s Cakes), growing on an Ash stump near the Visitor Centre. It looks somewhat like a bird dropping, which is thought to offer it a benefit as potential predators may overlook it.

The beetle was first spotted in Hertfordshire just eight years ago, and this sighting was the first confirmed recording from the park, and possibly the entire St Albans area.

A Cramp-ball Fungus-weevil, mimicking a bird dropping while sitting on fungus on an Ash stump