What is a BioBlitz?
The North Cornwall National Trust created an event for Lundy Bay near Polzeath, North Cornwall to try and find and record as much wildlife as possible in just 24 hours!
The ideal plan was that Fathoms Free was going to help with a Lobster Release Dive with the National Lobster Hatchery and a Debris Dive late afternoon. Unfortunately the weather was very bad for diving but was at least predicted several days before (so it was no surprise on the day that the sea was very choppy and un-diveable).
So even though the Diving element was cancelled, Anita, Zillah and myself manned the gazebo and participated on the Saturday. The National Trust made a hug effort to accomodate the public and for those participating. The field was cleared to make way for camping, portaloos available, big marquee full of information and specialist people to talk to (along with a mobile caterer in case anyone got hungry) and lots of events practically non-stop.
So Saturday afternoon, the 3 of us handed out some of our leaflets/stickers and talked to anyone that showed an interest in what Fathoms Free do. By early evening and as the sun was starting to set, then it was time to take down the gazebo and pack away….but then to start enjoying the events that the National Trust had been organising for everyone from 1pm.
We did a tour inside the marquee and then the next event was the Seal talk with Sue Sayer from the Cornwall Seal Group. Was fantastic to listen to Sue and hear about what the Cornwall Seal Group do and an insight into the life of a Seal (common and grey) and also how important it is not to disturb them on the beaches especially with young seals that have not yet fattened up. Was also very interesting to see when some of the seals are tracked where they go around the UK and France.
Please visit the Cornwall Seal Group website for more information
Quick tea-break and then for the next event “Going Batty – talk and walk” by Sarah Stevens (main organiser from North Cornwall National Trust). A lovely talk learning about bats, what types of bats and some of their behaviour and feeding habits. Several “Bat detectors” were handed out between the group and off we went just after sunset to see (and actually hear) some bats. Didn’t take long before we could hear the clicking sound of the first bat (Pipistrelle i believe) and then looking up, some could see the bat fly past aginst the sky to confirm). We wandered down through the paths and then back up again hearing a few more along the way.
More info can be found at the NT website – guide to uk bats
At 10.30pm, the darkness had really settled in, which led on to two other events at the same time – checking the moth traps or the night time rock pool ramble. Anita and myself elected for the rock pool ramble.
So with our hi-viz jackets on and multiple torches off we went back down the coastal path to Lundy Bay which was now at low tide. It was amazing to see what life comes active at night. Dozens of crabs in the rock pools of all different sizes (some happily eating a limpet for tea). Small Goby’s and Blenny’s, Sand Eels, Spiny Starfish and Anemones to name just a few. Come midnight it started to drizzle with rain, we decided to head back to our tent for a beer before the heavens opened up (which reminds me to re-spray our tent as it clearly was not waterproof).
The other events starterd at 4.45am on the Sunday for those keen to bird watch – 4.45am was not even a possibility of us getting up at that time, so we left those keen to carry on. The sun was out and was a gorgeous day, we had breakfast and chatted to a few more people around before heading home at lunchtime (educated and happy).
So we learnt alot from the BioBlitz and enjoyed taking part in the couple of events we could – which there was quite alot over the course of the 24 hour period.
So thank you to the North Cornwall National Trust for inviting us (and the amazing amount of effort they all put in to make this happen) and to all the other organisations that were there helping and contributing to this event. We would gladily be involved on the next one…
I believe the other organisations that were present (in no particular order) were..
Marine Science Society UPSU
The Marine Biological Association of the UK
Marine Conservation Society
National Lobster Hatchery
Polzeath Marine Conservation Group and Centre
Cornwall Wildlife Trust