A record number of different wildlife species have been found at Northam Burrows Country Park. The Park’s Rangers and the North Devon Coast AONB’s Finding Nature’s Footprints team, a National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project, ran a BioBlitz event on the 14th and 15th June. The event saw 268 school children and around 190 members of the public help find as many species as possible in a 24 hour period.
As part of the BioBlitz free public entry was provided to the park along with a whole host of organised public events including night and daytime rock pooling, mud dipping, freshwater invertebrate sampling, moth and small mammal trapping. In addition, there were also a series of expert led guided walks on topics such as bats, birds, dune plants, trees and shrubs.
School children joined from 6 different primary schools, including St Helen’s from Abbotsham, Appledore, East the Water, Hartland, Kingsley, and St Margarets in Northam. . The students all took turns in exploring the rockpools, dunes and freshwater streams, learning about the variety of wildlife that live in these different environments.
At the BioBlitz hub, several organisations including Plastic Free North Devon, Devon Wildlife Trust, Coastwise North Devon, Sunrise Diversity, North Devon Biosphere, Devon Moths, and the Devon Biodiversity Records centre were on hand with activities and to talk about the work they do. This gave the public a great opportunity to chat with the groups all in one place whilst also acting as a networking opportunity for the organisations themselves.
The event exceeded all expectations with a total of 269 different species recorded, of which 189 were new records to Northam Burrows. Overall, this included 64 different moth species, 20 species of birds and 103 species of different plants.
Torridge Councillor and Lead Member for Culture and Community Engagement, Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin said:
“We were really thrilled that North Devon Coast AONB chose Northam Burrows as one of their sites for a Bioblitz event this year, which was really well attended. As well as a great opportunity for children and adults to have a first-hand experience at exploring and learning more about nature we also added to our records of species found on the burrows. The information gathered is really important to assess the current health of the area’s ecosystems and also so that our rangers and partners can plan and direct longer term conservation efforts. Well done to everyone involved in organising and attending this fantastic day of activities and study.”
Joe Newberry, Finding Nature’s Footprints Project Coordinator, said:
“To make the right decisions for habitat management it is important that we understand how wildlife use the site. It was great to see so many people get involved with the event, young and old and fantastic that we can add new species records for Northam Burrows. Beyond the BioBlitz, there are lots of opportunities for people to get involved and help us gain a better understanding of our local wildlife. Look out for our annual Bioblitz each summer in the AONB.”
To find out more about upcoming BioBlitz events and throughout North Devon coast, please visit the North Devon Coast AONB website https://www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk/ as well as their Facebook page (@explorethecoast). For Northam Burrows events visit their Facebook Page @northamburrows