Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre

The Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre at Tullie House Museum, Carlisle keeps wildlife information for the county of Cumbria. Tullie House Museum, in its role as a local natural history museum, has collected and disseminated records of wildlife in Cumbria since its inception in 1893. From the early 1990s the Museum has developed a computerised database of species and habitat records in Cumbria and has taken the central role in providing a local biodiversity data service for the county. This role was restyled as Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre (CBDC) in 2010, a not-for-profit organisation hosted by Tullie House Museum and advised by local stakeholders.
Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre
Cumbria Biodiversity Data CentreWednesday, October 17th, 2018 at 2:37am
Tracking wildlife
The art of tracking wildlife is often portrayed in bizarre ways in movies, however it really doesn’t have to be that elaborate.

There are many ways to track what you have living near you; a great way is to invest in a camera trap which will be triggered by movement and then record either a photo or short video clip. This is a great way to see what wildlife passes by but can also look at the frequency of their coming and goings, it can be used to id individuals and even can offer an insight into their behaviours. The great thing about camera traps also is the fact that they can be left for a long time and are very low maintenance but are a fantastic way to get a glimpse into your local wildlife and can even be time and date stamped making it a great resource for recording wildlife.

However, there are free ways to track the wildlife in your area, a simple method is a well-placed tray of sand. To make this cheap animal tracker all you will need is; shallow baking tray, sand, cup of water and maybe some bait such as nuts or fruit depending on your target species. To assemble simple fill the tray with sand so it is level with the lip of the baking tray, then dampen the sand with some water so that the tracks stay put. You then can place it in a spot that you think gets animals passing through it regularly. For example, look along the bottom of a hedge row or fence and there may be an area that has a distinct tunnel shape through the foliage, this is often a sign of a well-used wildlife path, which will make a great spot for your tracker.

Once you have left the tray out overnight you hopefully may have some tracks. This is when things get a little bit tricky as identifying tracks can be difficult at first but after a few goes you may start to pick up on key indicators to look for such as toe number, claw marks and size.

Good wildlife track Identification sheet:

Camera trap information, this is a good link for assessing what you can do and what needs you have for your camera trap though you can find them on amazon for around £60 (I use a really cheap one and its great):

More on tracking your local wildlife:
Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre
Cumbria Biodiversity Data CentreMonday, October 15th, 2018 at 12:58am
Species of the week-Common frog
The Common frog is a familiar site in the UK with many of us knowing the ones that live in our garden. Common frogs are most known for their frogspawn laying over 4000 eggs in one season, this frogspawn is often seen as a sign that spring is here. However, weather dependent the frogs can lay there frogspawn as early as December.
The common frog remains active over the winter, as unlike other frogs that can freeze in the winter and then reanimate themselves. Instead the UK’s Common frog hibernates in the mud at the bottom of pond, so your garden pond remains a perfect habitat for them all year round. Though they do still need your help sometimes, as throughout the winter Common frogs do need to come to the water surface for air. Therefore, if the pond freezes over as we enter the cold winter months then they can’t get their valuable air and could risk drowning. A simple way to prevent this from happening is to float a tennis ball in the pond and if the pond does freeze over then the tennis ball will leave a vital space for the frog to get air.
So we hope that you give these guys a hand this winter so that come spring our ponds are once again full of frogspawn.
For more information on the Common frog go to:
Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre
Cumbria Biodiversity Data CentreFriday, October 12th, 2018 at 11:00pm
Focus on fungi
It’s that time of year again where all kinds of fungi are emerging from mushrooms to puffballs and moulds and slimes.
Fungi’s aren’t a plant and aren’t an animal, though they share characteristics with both which confused scientists for years and eventually they caved in and gave them their own kingdom. Fungi play a vital role in our countryside and woodlands. Without them it would look very different, as fungi are responsible for the clearing up and rotting away plant life. This includes trees which would not be able to rot without the fungi that can get through its ‘woody-tissue’.
So, we thought we would ask you if you had taken any cool pictures of fungi so far this year? If you have then please share them with us.
Or you can comment on the picture down below and tell us a bit about it?
To get things started here is a Violet Coral (Clavaria zollingeri) taken by David Brenham.
For more info on fungi go to:
Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre
Cumbria Biodiversity Data CentreThursday, October 11th, 2018 at 3:21am
Ladybirds in the uk
You may have noticed that there are a lot of ladybirds about, I personally counted 8 as I walked through Tullie House garden’s, this picture was taken on that walk. The UK has 46 different species of lady bird the most common being the 7-spotted, with an estimated 23.65 billion lady birds in the UK. There could be several reasons for this apparent spike in the number that we are seeing at the moment.
Ladybirds in the UK already around autumn start looking for warm places to spend the winter, which often causes them to seek refuge in our homes.
There is also that fact that the UK has seen record high temperatures which could have sparked a surge in breeding which has led to an unusually high population.
In the past records show that every 15 yrs or so there is a significant increase in the populations of lady birds, though the last recording of this was around 1976. There are links between a parasite that destroyed ladybird larvae in the 1990s and the ceasing of the 15-year cycle of population boom.
Just a quick reminder, ladybirds are harmless and play an important role in ecosystems eating all the Aphids that would otherwise destroy crops and plants. So, if you do come across any Ladybirds in your home just leave them be so they can stay warm this winter or move them to another warmer spot such as a shed.
If you do see any interesting lady birds then please let us know, also go check out our id guide on UK ladybirds:
Read more at:
Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre
Cumbria Biodiversity Data CentreMonday, October 8th, 2018 at 12:24am
Species of the week - Polecat
This week’s species of the week is the elusive Polecat, which is distributed throughout Cumbria. In the 1930’s the Polecat was wrongly persecuted for the killing of chickens and other livestock, which lead to trapping and culling them. This escalated to the point that they were almost driven to extinction, however thanks to conservation efforts the Polecat population has manged to recover, and an estimated 63,000 individuals can be found across the UK.
The Polecat is the ancestor of the domestic ferret and closely resembles them, although the domestic ferret expresses a variety of colours unlike the Polecat that shows the wildtype which is brown with a black mask. Though Polecat’s young are much lighter in colour almost white when they are born and develop the darker colour as they age.
The Polecat is mainly a carnivore relying on a varied diet of small vertebrates such as frogs, trout and rabbits. The Polecat is active all year round and nocturnal although, it will hunt in the day if it needs to. Another key feature of the polecat is its smell it emits a strong musky smell from its sent glands particularly when threatened.
This is a great example of a species that was incorrectly persecuted, without the correct data and information, to the point that the remaining population was at great risk of becoming extinct in the UK. Luckily it was able to make a recovery with the help from dedicated conservationist. This is another reason that we rely on your data to help understand our wildlife to make sure that other species are never at risk due to miss-information.

If you are a recorder for us already or interested in becoming a recorder then please follow the link bellow to sign up for our 2018 Recorders Conference on the 10th of November:
Friday, September 14th, 2018 at 1:21am
Felltop fungi growing in association with the Dwarf Willow on Eel Crag, Cumbria last week. The Cep (Boletus edulis), Mountain Grisette (Amanita nivalis), Fly Agaric (A. muscaria) and Russula renidens @LostFoundFungi CumbriaBDC photo
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 at 10:41pm
Unexpected item in the Leven area. Pete Martin was not expecting to film a harbour porpoise when walking along R. Leven, Harbour Bridge in January this year.
Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 at 6:25pm
Working on a funding bid today to increase recording on the @SolwayAONB
CumbriaBDC photo
Solway Coast AONB @SolwayAONB
Good morning 😊 from @SolwayAONB
There's a little bit of snow ⛄ on Criffel this morning.......wrap up warm!! @SolwayCoastwise @AONBFamily
Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 at 6:24pm
Excellent "trap" for the recording of worms, spiders and slugs.😃
CumbriaBDC photo
Recycle for Cumbria @Recycle4Cumbria
You need never have smelly food waste in your bin again if you treat yourself to a food waste digester - all food waste enriching the earth or turning into great compost Get yours in time for Xmas.