25 May 2023

Hundreds of wildlife sightings were recorded by volunteers taking part in our biggest ever wildlife survey as part of the Big Help Out on Monday 8 May.

Dozens of nature spotters braved wet and blustery conditions to spend an hour at their local lake, including Burrator, Longham, Crowdy, Meldon, Siblyback, Tottiford, Fernworthy and Argal. 

In total, 305 sightings were submitted with records including birds, plants, lichens, insects and mammals. Our ecologist was particularly pleased to have sightings of the swift, cuckoo, common toad, common frog and lady's-smock or cuckooflower. 

We offered a Friends of South West Lakes membership for best photograph and most records submitted on the day. 

The best photograph, a creche of goslings at Longham Lakes, was won by Kerry Chotty (above).

Janine Pulford from Ferndown in Dorset and two of her colleagues from Dorset View submitted the most records on the day. She said: "It was a miserable old day, but we were determined to do it.

"Three of us from Dorset View braved the weather to do this survey so I can’t take all the credit myself. We are thrilled to have logged the most number of species."

And we gave an extra Friends of South West Lakes membership to expert online verifier Bob Kirby, who was quick to identify photographs submitted via our Facebook page including lady fern, round-leaved crowfoot and lousewort. 

Our Head of Environment, Nicola Morris, took part with her sister at Crowdy Reservoir. She said: "This was a fantastic success under very trying weather conditions. I can confirm the weather was horrific (I was soaked to the skin!) but it was such a lot of fun.

"We had a real purpose to our visit to Crowdy and even though we were the only people daft enough to be out in the bucketing rain we still felt a part of a community event. Huge thanks and well done to everyone."