Ecological surveying scheme records bio-diversity in East Devon

The East Devon District Council Countryside service is, with the support of 25 volunteers, co-ordinating a series of surveys to gather valuable data on bird, reptile, butterfly, dragonfly, wildlife, bio-diversity and water quality at nature reserves across East Devon.

The surveys which are taking place at a number of nature reserves managed by the Countryside team, include the Maer in Exmouth, Holyford Woods near Colyton, Seaton Wetlands and Trinity Hill.

The volunteers have been offered training in their field and in data recording, so that they can visit the sites to gather accurate and valuable data on the state of the habitats managed by the Countryside team.

Since the launch of the monitoring scheme in March, a huge variety of wildlife has been spotted including adders, common blue butterflies and willow warblers.

Trainee Ranger, Laura Goble who is managing the project said: ‘’The abundance and diversity of the wildlife seen so far is encouraging, as it shows that the habitats found in East Devon are healthy. The volunteers' help has been essential to the project's success so far. Many have been visiting their sites once a week and setting their alarms very early to catch the first of the bird song or to spot reptiles making the most of the early morning sun. The volunteers hard work will help us to evaluate the biodiversity found in each nature reserve, and will allow our rangers to improve habitat management in order to support a variety of wildlife.’’

Surveying volunteer, Fran Sinclair said: "Being out among nature doing something useful and learning so much about wildlife that we don't usually see, is enormously satisfying and great fun. Whoever thought that mayfly larvae could be so diverse, or a water stick insect so huge? Love it."

The countryside team, with the help of 110 registered volunteers manage ten nature reserves across East Devon, for the benefit of local people and wildlife.

To find out more about the work of the Countryside team and volunteering for the Countryside team, visit wildeastdevon.co.uk. The team can be contacted via email: countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk or phone: 01395 517557.