Chris Packham Visits


IMG_1968Flanders Moss NNR

Last Sunday we were lucky to have Chris Packham visit Flanders. This was part of his UK Bioblitz campaign: you can find out more here. Over a period of 10 days Chris and his team are visiting 50 sites across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales with the aim of highlighting the dire state of the nation’s biodiversity as well as meeting the people who are working to do something in their local area to reverse the declines.


Flanders was one of 12 sites in Scotland chosen and the way the schedule worked out we were given a graveyard slot of 07:00 to 08:30 on Sunday morning. Despite the ungodly hour a good group of people gathered ready and willing. Then when the Bioblitz team arrived they went around meeting a whole range of different people that have contributed to what Flanders Moss is today. A group of our hardworking volunteers who are responsible for so much restoration work across the moss told Chris a bit about what it is like to work on the moss. David Bryant, local moth expert and recorder showed Chris some of the moths from the site. The Central Scotland Bat group had undertaken a bat survey the night before and showed Chris a bat from the bat boxes on-site. Andrea from the British Dragonfly Society showed him some of the dragonfly and damselfly larva from the site. And Julie Smith from the British Bryological Society talked sphagnum while botanical recorders Stephen Longster and Liz Lavery talked flowering plants.


But the undoubted stars of the show were Shona, Niamh and Deia, some of the mossaholics from Thornhill Primary P5-7, who showed Chris around the moss telling all that they had learned through the last year and showing him the adder hibernaculum that they had built. According to the Bioblitz team this was their only visit where youngsters were the guides.


Despite a hectic schedule, Chris was excellent. He spent time listening to everyone, asked really good questions but also showed his really impressive natural history knowledge. Genuinely inspiring.

Bacon rolls and good coffee prolonged the conversations after the Bioblitz team headed off, only 5 minutes behind schedule. It was great to have the opportunity to introduce Flanders to Chris and  he left with an invitation to return so we will keep our fingers crossed that maybe a Springwatch debut is on the cards!



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