Norfolk Coast Bioblitz 2017

Two people surveying on a saltmarsh

2017 will see nature conservation teams coming together to carry out one of the largest nature surveys seen in our region. Over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd July, the National Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Natural England and Holkham Estate supported by the Norfolk Coast Partnership will be coming together and holding a BioBlitz; a race against time to identify and record as many species as possible over the two days, stretching from Holme-Next-The-Sea in the west all the way along the coast to Salthouse in the East and we want the public to get involved too.

2017 will see nature conservation teams coming together to carry out one of the largest nature surveys seen in our region. 

We need your help

Over the weekend of 22 and 23 July, the National Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Natural England and Holkham Estate supported by the Norfolk Coast Partnership will be coming together and holding a BioBlitz on the Norfolk Coast.

What is a bioblitz?

A bioblitz is a race against time to identify and record as many species as possible, in this case, over  two days. Our survey will stretch from Holme-Next-The-Sea in the west all the way along the coast to Salthouse in the east and we need your help.

Why the Norfolk Coast?

This much loved stretch of coastline, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 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. 

The challenge we face

The unpredictable power of the sea and the damage it can cause was brought firmly to our attention on the night of 5 December 2013, when a tidal surge of the magnitude not seen for 60 years caused widespread devastation along much of the east coast of England including here on the Norfolk Coast. 

We have again been reminded of this threat more recently with the flooding at  Cley Marshes, Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s flagship reserve in January. Whilst much of the Norfolk coast escaped damage this time around, Cley took the full brunt of the stormy seas and was underwater for many days. 

From the smallest to the largest of species

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 this threat, never far from our minds, is likely to have an effect on our wildlife. So now is a great opportunity to survey every species from the smallest insects to the largest mammals and have a more accurate view of what nature is present on our coast.

Working together

The North Norfolk Coast is protected by many national and international nature designations with the whole stretch being a single Site of Special 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. 

What will we discover?

In 2015 the National Trust held bioblitz surveys in 25 coastal locations around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Brancaster and Blakeney came first and second respectively for the number of species found, showing just how valuable and important the Norfolk Coast as a whole is for nature conservation and the richness of the biodiversity. 

The bioblitz surveys also recorded a handful of wildlife firsts on the Norfolk Coast. These included the first ever recorded sightings of Balearic shearwaters, Puffinus mauretanicus, at Blakeney and the Moss Carder bee, Bombus (Thoracobombus) at Brancaster. 

To expand this and carry out a single bioblitz nature survey on this scale with other conservation teams together with the general public is an exciting prospect for everyone taking part and it is hoped it will uncover many more wildlife treasures that may have been previously unknown.

A weekend of fun activities

We’re encouraging people to join us and get involved with identifying plants and animals in fun activities along the coast that will require absolutely no prior knowledge. Together with the help nature experts and volunteers we hope to discover as many species as possible.

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.

" 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."
- Rachael Wright, Cley Community Education Officer, Norfolk Wildlife Trust