At Night, Biodiversity Is Painted by Mother Nature

Guided tours, concerts, theater and workshops have opened the Serralves Park on summer evenings. Until the 28th, the initiative Luz Luz in the Park challenges those who want to know the national monument beyond the architecture and its works of art. Guided by biologists, VISION Se7e accompanied one of the novelties of this year: the visits There is Light of Life in the Park, which show us the animals that live there. And there are many!
The gate of the Serralves Park opens, promptly, at 9pm. There is, indeed, waiting for nightfall so that the nightly visits to the national monument have another impact. In this, the VISION Se7 accompanied, guided by the biologist Raquel Ribeiro, of the Center for Research in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO), which is repeated until the end of August, the objective was to make known the biodiversity of the park. But there are other possibilities to go, in this third edition of Luz in the Park, Serralves at night, watching concerts, plays and performances, or workshops for all ages.
“When we talk about night life, what do we think about right now?”, Begins by asking Raquel Ribeiro to the group of 25 people (the maximum limit of these visits is 35) that is grouped next to the Gardener’s Spoon, by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen. “In fireflies, in bats …” shoots a teenager. And will there be all this around? The biologist leads us to the Liquidambares Mall, which is, he tells us, “one of the most common places where the dwarf bat likes to eat nocturnal butterflies: at night, they can eat about three thousand insects.” So that the group could see them – a difficult task, since they are so small (weighing five grams) and fast, that there were those who confused them with falling leaves or seagulls – the biologist activated an ultrasound device that detects the sonorous pulsations of very high frequency of the mammal. “In Portugal, there are 27 species of bats and some are threatened by habitat alterations,” explains Raquel Ribeiro, while we can see one or the other flying.
“Now let’s see if we can find fireflies”? invites the biologist, looking for them on the ground, among the foliage next to the Alameda dos Liquidambares and the Parterre Lateral, on the way to the House of Serralves. “Oh, how beautiful,” someone listens as the biologist puts them in the palm of his hand and points the flashlight. “How do they send light?” They ask. “Because they have a protein that the body produces in the lower abdomen. Light is a mechanism of communication, “explains Raquel Ribeiro, admired for the amount of fireflies that this summer has found there, admitting that it is” because since 2014 that the Park does not apply phytopharmaceuticals. ” We continue through the dark of the Central Parterre-after having returned the fireflies to the mother nature-, amazed by the beauty of the installation There is Light in the Park, which illuminates, otherwise, sequoias, araucarias, magnolias, cedars and lakes. “Here we hear the owl in the bush, let’s see if we’re lucky.” We did not, but hope put everyone in earshot and head held up in an attempt to hear the sound of the “Tui-tu” of the raptor . The park, says Rachel, has recorded 90 species of birds (diurnal and nocturnal) among blackbirds, jays, alveoli, chapins and swallows.
The nocturnal visits cross the Parterre Lateral, on the way to the House of Serralves
Lucilia Monteiro
We descend the stairs to the Bosque do Lago “looking for amphibians”. A dry night will not be the most auspicious. The best, explains the biologist, “are those that have some humidity, followed by a rainy day, without wind.” We did not get lucky next to the lake where this year the pimps seem to have disappeared, but we still hear the croaking of the green frog when we walked, with lanterns on the ground, looking for the common toad that the biologist counts there appeared a month ago. “We’re still trying to figure out how it happened here. It’s a mystery. There are those who admit that he may have come down Ribeira da Granja, whose water line runs here.”
We did not find the frog or yellow salamander that lives here (in the Park 500 different species have already been registered). But even though we had not heard the frog midwife, who seems to live farther down by the Lameiro, near the Prado, what we liked most was to listen to the reproduction history of this amphibian. In mating, it is the male, unlike most animals, that is responsible for the care and posture of the eggs, carrying them (about 40) on their backs until they find a place protected from predators.
Later we heard the dwarf bats next to the Presa before the biologist ended the one-and-a-half-hour visit that had come. We have not obviously crossed the 18 hectares of this Park designed by the French architect Jacques Gréber, awarded in 1997 with the Henry Ford Prize for the Preservation of the Environment, but we will surely look at it another way, after this class of biology.