Biodiversity Rocks!

…as the sticker I was given at Bristol Zoo on Saturday says!

It is currently Biodiversity Week at Bristol Zoo, and I was there with the Bristol Museum posse to show people some native insects from our collections, while the biology curator led bug-hunting trips around the herbaceous border. The rain held off, which was good for insect-finding, and we saw lots of bees, flies, and a male common blue damselfly. I felt a little inadequate at times, as people asked me to try and ID insects they’d seen in their gardens from vague descriptions, and I was forced to admit I didn’t have a clue (I’m a vertebrate zoologist! I’m pretty hopeless with all things spineless), but thankfully I had two knowledgeable insect people on hand to help out! I, of course, kept getting distracted by birds (that being my latest obsession and all). And not just the ones in cages…Bristol Zoo is swarming with wild native species, and they are all very bold around people – the picnicers on the lawn were constantly being eyed up by jackdaws and robins, who came very close and waited around for morsels to be dropped in their direction. I talked to some people about moths, the kids that the curator took around the border actually caught some insects (which is a minor miracle given how some of them were randomly running round waving their nets!), and a good day was had by all.

I even had some free time to wander round the zoo, which has changed considerably since I was a kid. They’ve reduced the number of big cat species they keep to expand the lion enclosure to a good size, the monkey and bird houses have been completely renovated, and conditions all round seem to have improved. I was quite impressed. And I got to feed some lorikeets, which was pretty amazing.

Sadly, Saturday’s little adventure probably marks the end of my voluntary work with Bristol Museum, as I have been offered a documentation job in London and will be moving soon. Which probably means that the foreign bird mount project will never get finished – they won’t curate themselves, you know! But the London job is only temporary until April next year, so I may yet be back! They can’t get rid of me that easily.

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