Tree sparrow, photo by Amy Lewis 1/3
Mistletoe, photo by Elizabeth Dack 2/3
Stoat, photo by Julian Thomas 3/3

Winter wildlife survey to help protect species in Norfolk


Friday 04 December, 2015


Norfolk Wildlife Trust launches a new wildlife spotter survey to record sightings of mistletoe, stoat and tree sparrow in Norfolk this winter.

You don’t have to be an expert to make a valuable contribution to local knowledge of Norfolk’s wildlife. Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation. It helps NWT to understand an animal’s distribution across the county, and identify any areas particularly important or lacking in these species.

Having undergone the most significant decline of our commoner species with a reduction of 85% in numbers in Britain between the two breeding atlas periods (1968-72 and 1988-91) tree sparrow is now on the red list. The current population of tree sparrows in the UK is only about 3% of that of the 1970s,

Mistletoe is a favourite plant this time of year, but it is not common in Norfolk.  There are scattered records from all around the county but it probably occurs most frequently south of Norwich.  With climate change it is believed that mistletoe will spread its range and so we may see an increase of this plant in Norfolk.

Although not presently threatened stoats have no legal protection in the UK. Lack of available prey is probably the main cause of death for young stoats for which mortality is high. Other predators include owls, hawks or larger carnivores such as the fox and particularly the domestic cat.

Head of People and Wildlife at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, David North said: “Now is a great time of year to be looking for these three distinctive species. Whether you are taking your dog for a walk, exploring Norfolk’s beautiful countryside, pottering in your garden or on your way to or from work, Norfolk Wildlife Trust would like you to keep your eyes peeled this winter for these special indicator species. Every wildlife record counts and will be of value.”

To share your sighting, NWT will need to know what species you saw, where you saw it: try and be as specific as possible, when you saw it, and who you are.

Sightings can be submitted easily online here where you will also be able to see a distribution map of all the sightings submitted so far. You can also phone your wildlife sighting to Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Information Service on 01603 598 333.

The survey is part of a community project run by Norfolk Wildlife Trust called Delivering Living Landscapes, which is working in the Gaywood Valley in west Norfolk and Bure Valley in the Broads to engage local people with their landscape and its wildlife. It is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Essex & Suffolk Water, John Jarrold Trust and Broads Authority.
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