More than 800 species found as
BioBlitz draws crowds (24th-25th June 2016)
Nature-lovers flocked to an East Devon farm to discover more about the hundreds
of animals and plants to be found there.
Landowner Clinton Devon Estates was helped by a host of local and national
naturalists as it held its first BioBlitz at Stantyway Farm, just outside
More than 250 people took part in the event which aimed to identify and record
as many species of animals and plants as possible in a 24-hour period.
Activities included a bat walk, moth trapping, bird walks, small mammal and
insect safaris, a hedgerow walk and tractor rides.
Stantyway Farm is currently undergoing conversion to organic status, so the
results of the BioBlitz on June 24 & 25 will serve as a useful marker to see
how much more attractive to wildlife it becomes over time.
Kate Ponting, Clinton Devon Estates’ Countryside Learning Officer, said: “Over
the space of 24 hours we recorded more than 800 species of animals and plants.
For example, we found four species of bats: common pipistrelle, soprano
pipistrelle, noctule and serotine; and seven other mammals: badger, stoat,
rabbit, hare, common shrew, bank vole and mole.
“Across the 100 hectares of the farm, naturalists and volunteers also
identified more than 160 higher plants, 45 lichens and 50 mosses and liverworts.
There were six species of butterfly, including Red Admiral and Painted Lady, as
well as an amazing 80 species of moths and 400 other types of insect. As well as
greatly improving our baseline knowledge of the site, the specialists have also
given us advice on how we can further improve it for wildlife.
“The much-loved and nationally rare
cirl bunting was among 36 species of birds spotted, which also included
buzzards, skylarks, swifts and black caps.”
Among the visitors taking part was Tamsin Sutton, from Woodbury, who brought
along Alanna, four, and Otto, six. She said: “We got here at 10am and it has
been brilliant fun. We went on the small mammal safari and it was very
informative. The people running the activities are highly knowledgeable –
there have been lots of experts who were able to answer any questions we had.
“The children, particularly Otto, loved it when they were opening the traps,
looking out for shrews. We also learnt about the crops here and the change to
Andy and Jemma Wiltshire, from Tipton St John, brought along their children Ben
and Elsie and their friend Kellie.
They had been out on the Friday evening taking part in the bat walk and then saw
the moth traps being set. Andy said: “We came back on Saturday for the other
activities but also to see all the moths that had been caught the previous
“The children have had a lovely time. Ben also liked the tractor ride!”
Elsie said: “I liked the bat detectors that were used to find bats – we saw
Kate added: “We were so pleased that so many groups and organisations joined
in the BioBlitz to make it so successful. Among the naturalists and experts
joining us over the two days were representatives of the RSPB, Devon Birds,
Natural Devon, Devon Wildlife Trust, the Otter Valley Association, the Devon
Moth Group and the Devon Bat Group.
“We were also supported by local businesses and community groups including
Otterton Community Shop, Ladram Bay, Little Otters preschool and Otterton SPACE,
and donations made across the range of stalls raised £250 for local charities.
“We’d like to thank everyone who helped with the organisation of the event,
and the volunteers and members of the public who took part to make it the
amazing success it was.”
A video of the event can be seen here: