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Big smiles for mini beasts

Last modified: 06 August 2014

Elephant hawkmoth perching on finger

Image: Katie Fuller

Adventurous young visitors to RSPB Bempton Cliffs will have the chance to get their hands on some weird and wonderful creatures at the nature reserve this summer - and the conservation charity is looking for photos of their brave visitors as they make friends with the wildlife.

Steve Race, Bempton Cliffs’ Education Officer, said: “There have been some really interesting finds on the reserve recently.  Over 400 toads have been recorded, as we’ve been monitoring our great crested newt population. And earlier this month, there were strange-looking scorpion flies around, which sound really scary but they don’t bite or sting.”

Out in the meadow and around the nature trail there will be the opportunity to collect smaller insects such as centipedes and have a close-up look at them in a magnifying bug pot. The Bempton team is also aiming to bring visitors face to face with a bat or two, as well as one or two rather splendid moths, which have been fluttering about the place recently.

Under close supervision, youngsters will be able to handle some of the wee beasties – all of which will be released at the end of each day. Adults accompanying children will be encouraged to take photos of the hands-on activity and email them to the RSPB.

Steve added: “A camera is a must on the cliffs anyway but for once we’re asking parents and guardians to focus on their children, not the birds. We’ll be looking out for snaps of our young visitors getting up and close and personal with bugs to put on our Facebook page.  And the very best image will win a cuddly puffin.”

And Steve is definitely the best man for judging the best pictures: when he’s not working for the RSPB, he’s an international, award-winning wildlife photographer.

‘Big Birds and Mini Beasts’ guided walks take place every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in August at 11am and 2pm. The walk costs £3 per child.  Other activities, including arts and crafts in the ‘Make It’ marquee, are free.  No need to book, just turn up on the day. Full details at

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