Written by Georgie Scott
Photos Courtesy of Ciortan Bogdan and Marcela Man
The first two week expedition has come to a close with over 500 hours of surveys completed. Our first villages were Richis and Nou Sasesc, situated in the most Westerly part of the Tarnava Mare Natura 2000 region and we received a very warm welcome.
With twenty research assistants and six dissertation students there was plenty of man power to get the surveys off to a great start. The butterfly team completed 24 transects with 48 repetitions and identifying 53 species. For the first time we had a Large copper in Richis which is typically a lowland wetland species, so an unusual find. Many of students commented on how much they enjoyed catching the butterflies and ‘frolicking’ through the meadows!
The botany surveys completed 6000m2 of quadrats with 5275 indicator species identified and recorded. There were many great species identified.
The farm survey team have been visiting as many farms as possible taking questionnaires and mapping the land owned by farmers, tying this in with land management practices. The research assistants have also been to visit some unique farms such as a bee and buffalo farm; leaving with 5Kg of freshly made buffalo cheese. Check out these photos of our group visiting the local bee farm.
With the addition of, Warwick, the PhD student looking at the ownership of rare breeds we managed to interview 19 farmers within the villages.
The bird ringing scheme is a firm favourite with all students. So far 195 birds have been ringed from 19 species. Some of the highlights have been four Hawfinches, two Barred warblers and a River warbler. We can’t wait to see if we recapture these birds in the same place next year!! The large mammal team have had some great camera footage with everything from Hare, Badger, Fox and Wilde Boar. There were some great bear prints and some lovely claw marks found as some of the highlights of the tracks and signs surveys.
The bird point counts had many highlights including Hoopoe, Wryneck and Lesser spotted eagle. So far we have collected a large amount of data to give us a well-rounded picture of the biodiversity in the Western part of the Tarnava Mare.