2016 sees the launch of the third year of the Exmoor Wild Watch Survey. Exmoor Wild Watch is an opportunity to be part of a ‘citizen science’ project to find out more about some wild species particularly characteristic of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority would love to hear from you if you see any of the 2016 Exmoor Wild Watch species.
This year’s list of wildlife stars include new species and old favourites. The full list is: barn owl, Daubenton’s bat, glow worm, toad, string of sausages lichen, waxcap fungi, harbour porpoise, hedgehog, common blue butterfly, cuckoo, red kite and kestrel.
Ali Hawkins, wildlife conservation officer at Exmoor National Park says:
“Please keep your eyes open for barn owls during the early months of the year. This much-loved bird has suffered decline in numbers nationally, and any recorded sightings will be invaluable in helping us all to better understand the status of the barn owl in the National Park.”
“One of the Exmoor Wild Watch success stories of 2015 was the brilliant extra data we collected on string-of-sausages lichen – nationally very rare but Exmoor provides an ideal habitat – and your records highlighted a number of sites including Molland Moor, Watersmeet, Withypool, Winsford Hill, Wimbleball and Haddon Hill. Are there yet more undiscovered sites – this time of year is great for spotting lichens.”
Records for 2015 ended with a real flourish with 400 new records sent in. Last autumn we received 18 waxcap toadstool records with sites including Foreland Point, Wimbleball, Brendon Common, North Hill and Hoar Oak Cottage. The hedgehog records kept coming late into the autumn. Did all the hedgehogs hibernate? Winter sightings would particularly be welcomed as would early sightings of toads and cuckoos.
Ali continued: “Please do keep records coming in for 2016 – this is the third year of Exmoor Wild Watch which was originally started through the Heart of Exmoor Scheme and is getting more popular each year.”
Submitting records is easy. Simply go online to www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/wild-watch and click on the species you have seen, and let us know where and when you spotted it. There you will find more information on each species. Alternatively please call the National Park Centre at Lynmouth on 01598 752509 to let them have your Wild Watch records. All the National Park Centres have a handy spotter guide. To find more Exmoor Wild Watch events and training in 2016 please visit the Exmoor National Park website.