It was the ghost of Hamlet’s father who urged his son to “list, list, oh list, if thou didst ever thy dear father love”. There is not much in that great play to suggest that the Prince of Denmark was a particularly keen naturalist, but it is advice that we on Southrepps Commons Trust have enthusiastically taken to heart. This being the time of year when lists of all sorts are coursing through the internet, it seems appropriate to mention our own listing activities.
All bird sightings are recorded on the BTO’s excellent Birdtrack database (https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys), and at the end of each month the records for the year to date are downloaded. The resulting list is then printed and displayed at the information point at the Lower Street car park, and posted on our website at http://sctrust.org.uk/bird-sightings. Listings for previous years can be reached from http://sctrust.org.uk/nature/birds, from where the current listing can also be downloaded as a PDF.
This represents a fair amount of ongoing effort, but it pales into insignificance when you consider the prodigious work done on listing the plants on the Commons. Whilst we average 69 bird species, with our highest number (78) being recorded this year, thanks to more people providing sightings, the current total of plant species recorded now stands at 396. We know this due to the herculean efforts of a small group of keen amateur botanists amongst our volunteers, alongside the surveys carried out by professionals working on behalf of Natural England and the Environment Agency. Lists have been created, in scientific and common name order, for plants grouped according to whether they are flowering herbs, grasses and rushes, woody plants, or ferns, horsetails, mosses and lichens. The entire list, again in either scientific or common name order, can also be downloaded as a PDF. All of these lists can be accessed from http://sctrust.org.uk/nature/plant-lists-index.
Occasionally moth trapping surveys are conducted, and lists of butterflies and moths occurring on The Commons can be found at http://sctrust.org.uk/nature/invertebrates. We also record, but far less fully, dragonflies and mammals occurring on The Commons.
Finally, so that our records can form part of the wider picture of wildlife in Norfolk, all our records are also sent to the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service (https://nbn.org.uk/members/norfolk-biodiversity-information-service-2/).
If you find something on or close to the Commons that you think we should know about, this can be done easily via our website at http://sctrust.org.uk/nature/report-sightings.
Phew! That should be enough to satisfy Hamlet’s dad’s request…