Brighton and the Eastern Downs tops the UK for the third year running in the City Nature Challenge 2023

Friday 28th April-Monday 1st May the Brighton and Eastern Downs region took part in the City Nature Challenge 2023, a global Bioblitz where cities and regions pit it out against one another to try to find as many different species as possible.

Benfield Wildlife and Conservation Group and the Wilding Waterhall project ran public bioblitz events with local experts and Buglife’s Alice Parfitt lending a hand with I’Ding some of the more specialist species found around our wonderful city.

Viviparous Lizard, seen at Waterhall Local Nature Reserve, photo credit Ryan Greaves

Professional ecological surveyor Graeme Lyons undertook a mammoth weekend of recording, chronicled here, in which he made 2801 records of 1014 species. This included 570 invertebrates, 303 plants and 77 birds. Gerald Legg, former Keeper of Natural Sciences at the Booth Museum also took a trip down to Black Rock for a survey of the rock pools and turned up a spectacular list. when the final scores were totted up the Brighton and Eastern Downs region came top in the UK, reclaiming the title it earned in 2021 and 2022!

It isn’t really a competition. The only winners are nature, science and everyone who takes part. The event is great fun and produces some top quality citizen science, helping us understand more about the wildlife we share our wonderful landscape with.

Nature’s intertidal treasures- naturalist Gerald Legg’s rock pooling session for the City Nature Challenge 2023

Gerald Legg, former Keeper of Natural Sciences at Booth Museum of Natural History for nearly 40 years, continues to contribute much to our understanding of the natural history of the Sussex coastline through his work with Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Sussex Shoresearch and Sussex Seasearch.
With the City Nature Challenge 2023 in full swing, Gerald took to Black Rock beach near Brighton Marina to survey the rock pools.
As his photos attest, there was much otherworldly beauty to be found…..
Leptoplana tremellaris– a species of marine flatworm
Coryne muscoides– a species of athecate hydroid
Lepidochitona cinerea– a species of chiton
Acanthochitona crinita– a species of chiton
Snakelocks Anemone Anemonia viridis

Barnacle spp

Green Shore Crab Carcinus maenas– male (left) mate guarding a female

Ceramium spp- a type of red marine algae

Slipper Limpet Crepidula fornicata

Cryptosula pallasiana- species of colonial bryozoan

Pulmularia setacea- species of hydroid