Enthusiasts were joined by a host of experts in this year’s BioBlitz, organised by the New Forest National Park Authority.
And there were more than 1,200 finds with about 500 different species surveyed – including the rare and aptly named moth Scarce Merveille du Jour, and the Daubenton’s bat which was recorded for the first time at Roydon Woods Nature Reserve near Brockenhurst. But there were no sign of the elusive New Forest cicada despite help from a new smartphone app developed by scientists at the University of Southampton.
The rare singing insect is the UK’s only native cicada and hasn’t been seen since 1993, although some evidence of its presence was found in 2000.
The ‘Cicada Hunt’ app was launched at the BioBlitz and can pick up the insect’s distinctive mating calls which it sings from May to July.
Over 200 people have already downloaded the free software since it was released on 3 June, but so far its songs haven’t been heard.
Dr Alex Rogers, from the University’s Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, said: "The next month or so is the ideal time to search for the New Forest cicada. It likes warm, still, sunny weather, and is most likely to be found in sunny clearings, where it will sing for a few hours either side of midday.’ The BioBlitz data collected will provide important information about the health or decline of species.
Natalie Fisher, interpretation officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: “It was such good fun and the enthusiasm of all involved was wonderful to see.
“Much of our wildlife is very secretive, so the BioBlitz was a great opportunity to safely get up close and personal with animals we would normally walk straight past without noticing.
“We had a number of first records for the site, and visitors loved finding out more. One woman told me she walks her dog through Roydon Woods every day, but now she’ll keep him on a lead so not to disturb the ground nesting birds.”
The New Forest National Park Bioblitz is run in partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Hampshire County Council.
John Durnell, head of conservation for west Hampshire at the Wildlife Trust, said: “The BioBlitz continues to be a great way to get people involved in surveying their local wildlife and green spaces. In just 24 hours we recorded hundreds of species, which provides valuable data about how healthy our wildlife populations are.”
The cicada app is available now for both iPhone and Android smartphones on the iTunes and Google Play app stores.
To find out about the New Forest Cicada Project go to newforestcicada.info