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Monday, 27 January 2014

November 2013

Starting where I left off in October – when I left the meeting last month, we found lots and lots of common frogs on the high ground both sides of Coombe Valley – the wet misty weather must have brought them out.

Starlings have returned with a vengeance – I have seen up to 4,000 over my garden.   We also have a regular visitor, a female Yellowhammer working along our lawns.  The Great Spotted Woodpecker has returned after an couple of month’s absence and I saw my first Lapwings of the season at Upper Tamar Lake on Tuesday last.  In early November we were on Lundy and saw individual swallows on two days and had a “fall” of a flock of 100 Wood Pigeons on the 10th

We have regular nocturnal visits from a hedgehog captured on the Trail Camera recently purchased by our group.  Our Bank Vole is still seen scuttling from wall to wall but I have been unable to catch it on camera.  On Lundy we saw Sika deer, interestingly in both summer – pale buff and spotted coats and winter – dark grey coats.  On our last day we have to return by boat due to fog and were allowed onto the Landing Beach which had been closed due to seals pupping there.  We saw two pups learning to entertain visitors and Mum and Dad swimming very close together – they mate soon after the female leaves her pups and carries for almost a year when she will pup in September/October next year.  Every day we saw a Pygmy Shrew in our property, Government House – they are the size of a £1 coin.



Crimson Waxcap - Hygrocybe punicea Lundy
On Lundy we saw on our first day, a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly and Silver Y Moth and on two days, Red Admirals – these will be seen all winter on warm days.  I have been observing a wasp nest near home and they were still flying right up to Sunday when the Queen emerged and re-entered the nest

As usual, Red Campions are to be seen, they are usually seen each month of the year.  A few Herb Robert are hanging on too.  On Sunday I saw flowering Scurvy Grass

And finally, the Ivy in my garden is beginning to produce the black fruits that are vital to the survival of many of our birds through the winter.  On Lundy there are many fungi showing – in particular the Waxcaps

[Transcript of a report first presented to Cornwall Wildlife Trust Tamar Group on 18th November 2013]

Friday, 24 January 2014

October 2013

October 2013
 
Have you noticed the lack of garden birds? This is down to two factors; after a busy breeding season they are now in moult replacing those worn out feathers and there is plenty of food without having to visit our gardens and show themselves.
There are a few starlings about although I've seen no murmurations yet


Has anyone seen any Redwings or Mistlethrushes? They are certainly scarce at this time and no major migrants seen either

But I do keep seeing lots of Jays about and a new bird for me was the Red-necked Grebe at Lower Tamar Lake recently


Spiked Shield Bug
There also seems to be a lots of shield bugs about I recently saw a Green Shield Bug one with red legs which identified as a Spiked Shield Bug, which was feeding on a caterpillar, one of the carnivorous species as well as Common Green Shield Bugs in whole families

Butterflies are still about too, Red Admiral of course and Small Tortoiseshell and plenty of Fox moth caterpillars on the cliffs. There do seem to be plenty of 7-spot ladybirds too.
Squirrels are foraging - Badgers are about - plenty of road kill as they spread out Bank Vole seen at home - and at night hedgehogs are looking to feed up for the winter.


Most things have gone to seed, but a violet seen last week newly flowering
and Hazel catkins are out but not open. There are lots of berries and nuts - Hips, Haws, Sloes, Hazel

I have been out surveying the Bude canal, the Bude aqueduct, WeBS at Tamar lakes, Intertidal survey - Celtic sea slug, 4 types of anemones - Beadlet, Strawberry, Daisy and Dahlia as well as sand eels, shrimps and worms which disappear in a flash.


There is so much out there, all you have to do is go out and look

Morwenstow Mole
 

[Transcript of a report first presented to Cornwall Wildlife Trust Tamar Group on 21st October 2013]