Zooming in

This year’s coastal Bioblitz is set to be Norfolk’s largest-ever wildlife survey, says National Trust digital media, marketing and interpretation officer Alex Green

Over the course of one weekend this summer – on 22 and 23 July – individuals and communities will be able to take part in the largest wildlife survey ever carried out in Norfolk.   

A partnership of nature conservation teams made up of the National Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Natural England and the Holkham Estate, supported by the Norfolk Coast Partnership will come together to hold a BioBlitz. This will be a race against time to identify and record as many species as possible along the coast over a 24 hour period from Holme-next-the-Sea to Salthouse.

All discoveries will be recorded and then submitted to local wildlife record centres and the National Biodiversity Network to help understand how wildlife along the coast is changing and how best to protect it. The findings may well determine the conservation management needs of the coast and plans can be adapted accordingly.

In 2015 the National Trust hosted Bioblitz surveys in 25 coastal locations around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Two sites at Brancaster and Blakeney came first and second respectively for the record of species found; showing just how valuable and important the Norfolk Coast is for nature conservation and richness of biodiversity. These previous surveys also recorded a handful of wildlife firsts on the Norfolk coast.

It is hoped that this much larger nature survey with other conservation teams, together with the public will uncover many more wildlife treasures that may have been previously unknown.

“We want the public to get involved and join us identifying plants and animals in fun activities along the coast. It requires absolutely no prior knowledge and we will be encouraging as many people as possible to take part. Together with the help of nature experts and volunteers we hope to discover as many species as possible.” Said Rachael Wright, Cley Community Education Officer, Norfolk Wildlife Trust

This much loved stretch of coastline attracts millions of visitors every year to its shores, many of who visit to experience the fantastic and diverse wildlife found here. But it is a coastline that is at the mercy of the sea with the threat of climate change causing rising sea levels and more frequent storms.

Ajay Tegala, National Trust Coastal Ranger said: “The North Norfolk Coast is protected by many national and international nature designations with the whole stretch being a single Special Site of Scientific Interest. Even though it is owned and managed by different landowners and organisations, each shares the same aim and goal of conserving and preserving the area for the benefit of the wildlife. But wildlife has no concept of ownership boundaries so the need for everyone to work together to look after this special coastline and its rich biodiversity has never been greater.”

The sea’s unpredictable power and the damage it can cause was brought firmly to the public’s attention on the night of 5 December 2013, when a tidal surge of the magnitude not seen for sixty years caused widespread devastation along much of the east coast of England including here on the Norfolk Coast. We are again reminded of this threat more recently with the recent flooding at Cley Marshes, Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s flagship reserve, this January.

Nature is rather resilient and many of the coastal locations, some of which were under seawater for many weeks, soon bounced back and continue to recover. But in the future increasing extreme weather events are likely to have a significant effect on our wildlife. Now is a great opportunity to survey every species from the smallest insects to the largest mammals to gain a more accurate view of what nature is present on our precious coast.

For more information on the BioBlitz please see http://bit.ly/NCBioBlitz

Alex Green is National Trust digital media, marketing and interpretation officer