Bioblitz at Sandwich Bay, Kent

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United Kingdom


Volunteers wanted!

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust are hosting a weekend bioblitz on Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th July 2019. We invite any interested Dipterists to join us on either or both days.

Sandwich Bay is a long sweeping inlet of the sea between Ramsgate and Deal, on the east coast of Kent, England. The coastal area consists of sand flats with their associated salt marshes and coastal sand dunes. The Sandwich Flats stretch for about five miles (8 km) along the coast. The coastal habitats are of high ecological importance. Most of the bay bears national and international nature conservation designations.  The beach at Sandwich Bay is largely shingle, and relatively steep in profile at points along its width, but the receding tide reveals some areas of sand. Towards the northern end of the beach Sandwich Bay is separated from the Isle of Thanet by the River Stour estuary, where the Pegwell Bay nature reserve and salt marsh can be found.

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory was one of the country’s first independent ringing stations, founded in 1952. Official Observatory status was achieved in 1962 when it was able to move onto the site of the present headquarters. The ringing and recording are still carried out within the rules of the Bird Observatories Council and the British Trust for Ornithology. Charitable trust status was achieved in 1984 and two years later 22 acres of land, known as Restharrow Dunes Nature Reserve, was purchased. This area is also rich in rare plants and invertebrates. In 1994 the Trust created a fresh-water wader scrape to attract migrant waders in spring and autumn at Backsand Point, and a second scrape was created opposite Restharrow Dunes in 2002. The latter continues to flourish attracting hundreds of visitors each year.

The area attracts many naturalists to study the rich flora and fauna of the area, a stretch of coastal dunes unique in the County of Kent and recognised as being of the highest scientific value. The flora includes a number of orchid species with a large colony of Lizard Orchids of especial significance and with Clove Scented Broomrape and a host of other interesting plants also present. The bird fauna is well studied, while moth trapping at the Bird Observatory has resulted in a very long list of moths (over 1000 species). Other invertebrate and plant groups have received a lot of attention from visiting naturalists for very many years but this sis an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the knowledge of this area.

Many well known specialists have already signed up for this event but more would be welcomed. You can attend on either of both days. The Observatory does have limited self-catering accommodation available.This does need to be pre-booked however. There are other places where one can stay in Sandwich, Deal and elsewhere in the area.

As it will be useful to know who is coming and when and what their interests are we would request that you register in advance and you can do this on the SBBOT website where further details are also available.

Parking: you can park free at the Observatory but please note it is not possible to drive elsewhere on the private toll toads without paying the full fee of £7 per day at the toll gate.

Time: starting at 10am on each day with a briefing to participants, when maps and other information will be made available. You can continue as long as you like but it is suggested that those who wish reassemble back at the observatory at 16.00 for light refreshments and to discuss some of what has been found.

Lunches: Please bring your own packed lunch and water.

Lab facilities: You will be able to work on identifications in the lab at any time including the evenings if you wish. We would however suggest that you bring your own microscopes etc. We do have a library but you would probably be advised to bring your own specialist literature.

Booking: As it will be useful to know who is coming and when and also what their interests are we would request that you register in advance using the website link above. Please do not be deterred from coming at the last minute if you have not booked but let us know on arrival that you are an extra participant. Please note that accommodation does need to be booked separately.

Moth Traps: our moth traps will be run each night and we will ensure that there is an opportunity for those who wish to see what has been caught.

Dogs: We would appreciate it if you would kindly not bring your dog with you.

Records: The Observatory would of course like a copy of all the records of species recorded.

If you are not able to come for the bioblitz weekend but would like to visit at any other time do please do let us know. We are always grateful for records of species recorded.

[Information provided by Alan Outen.]