Wildlife trust wants public to keep their eyes open for special local flora and fauna

A stoat

A stoat - Credit: Archant

Wildlife lovers are being asked to keep their eyes peeled to build the picture of wildlife and plantlife in Norfolk as a new winter survey launches.

A tree sparrow

A tree sparrow - Credit: Archant

Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) is asking volunteers to make a vital contribution to local knowledge of the county's flora and fauna by taking part in its winter spotter survey.

The trust is particularly keen to build a clearer picture of a number of at risk species to aid conservation efforts, as well as species which may be burgeoning across the county.

Top of the list are the tree sparrow, mistletoe and stoats.

Tree sparrow numbers have dropped by 85pc in Britain since the 1970s, with the species now on the red list or threatened species.

Mistletoe

Mistletoe - Credit: Archant

Mistletoe is not common in Norfolk, with only scattered records of it around the county.

It is most frequently found south of Norwich, but conservationists expect it spread due to climate change.

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The stoat is seeing high mortality among young stoats, believed to be caused by a lack of available prey. It currently has no legal protection in the UK.

David North, head of people and wildlife at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said: 'Now is a great time of year to be looking for these three distinctive species.

'So whether you are taking your dog for a walk, exploring Norfolk's beautiful countryside, pottering in your garden or on your way to or from work, Norfolk Wildlife Trust would like you to keep your eyes peeled this winter for these special indicator species.'

To share your sighting, NWT will need to know what species was spotted and where: try to be as specific as possible, including details of when you saw it and who you are.

Sightings can be submitted online, where you will also be able to see a distribution map of all the sightings submitted so far. Go to www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/spotter

You can also phone your wildlife sighting to NWT's Wildlife Information Service on 01603 598333.

The survey is part of a community project run by Norfolk Wildlife Trust called Delivering Living Landscapes.

It is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Essex & Suffolk Water, John Jarrold Trust and Broads Authority.

Are you running a conservation scheme? Email andrew.fitchett@ archant.co.uk