Farm News  |   September 1, 2022

Citizen Science – we’re now on iNaturalist

Help us record biodiversity on the farm with iNaturalist…

Would you be interested in helping out with recording the wildlife at Lauriston Farm?

The farm is now a project on iNaturalist.

iNaturalist is an app for recording biodiversity. It was created by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, and has become a global network of projects and recorders – and you can join us! The app is a beautifully simple way to explore and share your observations of wildlife.

  1. Download the iNaturalist app from Google Play or the App Store
  2. Create an account and join the Lauriston Farm project to see what others have found here
  3. When you are on the farm, record your observations (+ New Observation). If you take a photo, you will get suggestions on identification.

You can also download the app onto a computer and upload photos from a camera with a zoom lens, which would be useful for images of birds and fast moving insects.

iNaturalist is a great way to keep a log of your wildlife sightings – wherever you go – contributes to knowledge about the wildlife on the farm and helps you with identification. We are planning an iNaturalist event at the farm soon so keep a look out for booking info if you are interested.


A note on grass cutting at the farm

We are trying to balance biodiversity interests and access, so have recently cut a larger area of grass to the east of the market garden to give space for dogs to play away from the north fields.

The north fields are prioritised for birds. We have cut the grass there, with the exception of a wide margin. We want to encourage curlews and other wading and coastal wintering birds to return to the farm where they can find undisturbed areas to roost and feed.

We also leave other areas of long grass undisturbed because it is a great habitat for small mammals and invertebrates. The grasses are very important food plants for the caterpillars of a number of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Cocksfoot grass is widespread at Lauriston Farm and is home to the Cocksfoot moth (see picture). The caterpillars feed on the Cocksfoot grass seeds and, when fully grown, the larvae enter the stem of the grass to pupate. You can detect their presence by looking carefully for small holes along the grass stems. The moths are tiny but beautiful – you need a hand lens to fully appreciate micro moths.

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