St Abbs wildlife puts on a show

TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham visited St Abbs Head  nature reserve last week.
TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham visited St Abbs Head nature reserve last week.

Television presenter and naturalist Chris Packham visited St Abbs Head last week as part of a 48-site whistle-stop audit of the UK’s wildlife.

During his UK Bioblitz Chris was also crowdfunding to raise money for the projects he visited in what he sees as “a big chance to make a difference before it’s too late’.

Christ Packham joins birdwatchers at St Abbs Head on his whistlestop tour of the country.

Christ Packham joins birdwatchers at St Abbs Head on his whistlestop tour of the country.

St Abbs Head, National Trust for Scotland senior ranger Liza Cole said: “We at the National Trust for Scotland’s St Abb’s Head were really thrilled to be selected as one of just 48 sites in the whole of the UK to take part in Chris Packham’s UK Bioblitz.

“On the day neither the weather nor the wildlife disappointed; we had wall-to-wall sun and flat calm seas which meant that one of Chris’ first sightings was of a minke whale!

“As he was visiting four other sites on the same day, Chris was only with us for a couple of hours but he still managed to get round all five of our “wildlife hotspots” which were manned by naturalist experts in all sorts of wildlife from seabirds to sea urchins, bats to butterflies, and flowers to frogs.

“On his travels he met up with wildlife enthusiasts of all ages, who had come to see if they could add any new sightings to the list for the reserve.

“The day had a really good buzz to it, everyone having a great day and most folk, including Chris Packham, leaving having learnt something new. We haven’t quite finished totting up the figures yet, but so far we are up to more than 280 species recorded in just three hours!”

Tweeting as he goes Chris tweeted: “Many thanks go to all the people who came along and joined in and also to the folk from the following partner organisations who came and helped us out: St Abbs & Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, St Abbs Marine Station, Butterfly Conservation and The Wildlife Information Centre.”

Chris’ Bioblitz took place from July 14-23, and as he was completing it on Monday, the total raised had exceeded the £5000 goal.

Explaining the purpose of his tour around the UK Chris said: “I am carrying out an in depth audit of the UK’s wildlife.

“I will be meeting the people with their fingers on the pulse of our wildlife the length and breadth of the UK, those unsung heroes, the great British naturalists who know their stuff and are making a difference.

“I will have a complete first-hand experience of the natural health of the UK. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. I love learning and seeing new places and species but I fear that I will also bear witness to a landscape in huge trouble. I want to spread an awareness of the successes and failures and to raise some money to help combat the latter. Weʼre raising £5,000 to support the work of the conservation projects I visit.”