Pest, Skin and Data

It has been a busy few weeks with lots of different projects going on, as usual been splitting my time between Tullie house and CBDC. It is interesting working for both as I feel I am looking at the present world of recording and the work that goes into that with the CBDC. Then I work with all the ‘data’ and records from the previous recorders, getting to look at that process and how they still link together is great to see.

Tullie house

The barns owls from the freezer work I have been doing got sent off to the taxidermist to get made into skins for our research collection. After they return the Red squirrels will be sent off to also get made into skins, we discovered in this process that we have a small army of 75 Red squirrels frozen in our many freezers.


We also had a great afternoon with some volunteers looking for pests in our taxidermy mounts collection. We looked at each individual piece looking for any signs that pest may be on them, we combed through perching birds, shorebirds, exotic birds and a large variety of small mammals from pine martens to bats. The signs we looked for are; messy appearance, loose feathers, frass on or around them and we comb our finger across them as some larvae will pop out with pressure. Luckily, we didn’t find anything, also while repacking them we changed all the acid free paper they rest on, cleaned out the cupboard and repackaged some which lead to extra space for the future.

otter pup


The CBDC has been very busy working on getting the data cleaned so that they can be sent off to be verified. The amount of records we receive is crazy I alone have cleaned around 2000 records, but the number of records for different groups aren’t even. We get so many moth records then a even number of bat and plant records, we get some bird records, but we get hardly any mammal records. Which is surprising as mammals seem to be more of a token group, but this imbalance is probably because surveying mammals is a quite difficult. Compare this to moth surveying where you can use a moth trap and, in an evening, get hundreds of different species of moth and a load of records.

editd herbarium sheet


I also continued with some data entry on the Lakeland herbarium, there were some really interesting records I found from Derek Ratcliffe, which said he found a Alpine mouse-ear near the summit of Helvellyn which was pretty interesting as it is quite a rare plant in England as it only grows above certain altitudes. This work that I have been doing ties in nicely with the digitisation project that Tullie house has been working on for one of their herbariums, which I have started editing some of the pictures from.

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