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Seashore safaris and a sea mammal watch at Bioblitz day coming to Woolacombe and Morte Point

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 22, 2013

  • A CLOSER LOOK: Children using a magnifying glass to look at the wildlife in the dunes. Picture: National Trust.

  • SEA LIFE: Close up of a young, female, grey seal basking. Picture: National Trust image/Joe Cornish

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SEASHORE safaris on Woolacombe and Barricane beaches, a butterfly walk on Woolacombe Dunes and a sea mammal watch out at Morte Point are all part of the fun at a BioBlitz day next month.

The scientific survey, to celebrate UNESCO North Devon Biosphere's 10th anniversary, also includes explorations of stream life, sand dune habitats, bird life and seaweed identification. Craft activities and i-spy events will help to make it a fun day for all ages.

The aim of a BioBlitz is to count the number of the plants and animals in a given location within a specified number of hours. In Woolacombe this means a full day exploring and recording the biodiversity in the varied marine and terrestrial habitats of the area. The results will be combined by the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre and a legacy pack created which will be shared with local schools and groups and will also be submitted to national databases.

"We want to enthuse people about their local natural world," said Jim Monroe, a member of Coastwise North Devon. "This will be a community effort, guided by experts, and at the end of the day we will have made a real and valuable contribution to our knowledge and awareness of the precious habitats on our doorstep."

The Biosphere's science-for-all domed tent will be on Woolacombe Esplanade and will provide the focal point for data recording and video and photographic feedback of information collected throughout the day.

Microscopes will be on hand for identification of small creatures, and wildlife experts will be available to answer any questions that arise.

Jonathan Fairhurst, National Trust head ranger for Croyde, Woolacombe and Mortehoe is expecting a big turnout.

"Although it's a survey, it's educational and fun at the same time. We're asking people to bring along their binoculars and magnifying glasses to make the most of the day. Cameras are important too. Any unusual plants or animals spotted can be photographed and brought back to our experts for identification."

Coastwise North Devon is working closely with UNESCO North Devon Biosphere Foundation, the AONB and the North Devon National Trust team to organise this event and have been delighted by the number of wildlife experts and helpers who have volunteered their services for the day. Devon Wildlife Trust and the Marine Biological Association will all be joining in the fun.

The event is on Saturday, September 7.

A full timetable of events is available at www.coastwise northdevon.org.uk.

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