More than 1,000 species found in one day at Brancaster
- Credit: Archant
It was a quest that ran the length of the country's coastline – to find the site with the greatest array of wildlife.
From dusk 'til dawn, volunteers scoured 25 nature reserves and beauty spots to see how many species they could record there.
And now, with the results all in and analysed, the winners can be revealed: with Norfolk sites in the top two spots. The so-called 'Bioblitz' study was carried out by the National Trust at 25 of its coastal sites in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The surveys were carried out over 24 hours, with volunteers scouring their patches for species, to see how many they could find in the time.
The location with the greatest number of species was the Brancaster estate, where 1,018 were recorded. In second place was Blakeney nature reserve, with 934 species. The Brancaster Bioblitz took place in July. Keith Miller, coastal ranger at Brancaster, said: 'We only had 24 hours to survey wildlife. I used every single one. From surveying for owls at midnight to leading bat walks for families the following evening.
'The Bioblitz volunteers helped us find species we didn't know we had, like the white-letter hairstreak butterfly. As a ranger, having that expert help will prove invaluable.'
The Blakeney national nature reserve was involved in a second bioblitz later in the year.
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According to Mr Miller, Blakeney might have taken first place if the day had been blessed with the warm and sunny weather the Brancaster team enjoyed.
'I have been bragging ever since that we are the best wildlife site but if Blakeney had the same day we had they would have beaten us, they are a great site too.'
Ajay Tegala, a Blakeney Point ranger, said their grey and windy day did afford them the opportunity of spotting a Balearic shearwater seabird – Puffinus mauretanicus.
'The weather wasn't great for things like butterflies but on the flip side it was good for watching birds migrate to sea because the wind was pushing them on shore.' He added a mining bee, which burrows into the marsh, was also spotted.
Blakeney Point was followed by Brownsea Island in Dorset, Dunwich Heath in Suffolk and Cwm Ivy on Gower in South Wales in the survey which was organised to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the National Trust's Neptune Coastline Campaign.
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