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Thursday, 1 May 2014

A Beautiful Square

Ammonite in Stowe Barton wall
I think I have the best Breeding Bird 1 kilometre square of all. Yesterday I finalised the two transects I will walk in early May and late June to record the species that I identify as breeding birds. The start of my first transect is near Stowe Barton the home of one of England's great military families – the Grenvilles. The wall famously features an ancient piece of natural history, a fossilised ammonite. 


Snails
 Sir John Grenville served with Drake at the time of the Armada and his grandson Sir Bevil lost his life at the battle of Stamford Hill during the English Civil War. My picture shows typical Brown-lipped snail activity, climbing to the top of any vertical natural feature with satellite dishes in the near distance. From here it crosses cliff top farmland before crossing two streams that empty into the Atlantic near Sandymouth on the North Cornish Coast.

The second transect commences from the the National Trust café at Sandymouth and follows the South West Coastal Footpath north towards Duckpool. The ground is open, grassy and occasionally dotted with Gorse. I was fortunate to see carpets of Spring Squill on the cliff top as well as Dove's-foot Cranesbill. Although I was concentrating on establishing the 10x200m legs of the transect; where they start and finish and the habitat, I did note a few birds, the most obvious were Buzzard, Wheatear, Linnet, Skylark, Robin, Blackbird, Herring Gull, Swallow and Jackdaw. No mammals were about in mid afternoon, but Badger setts and Rabbit warrens along the cliff hold out promise on my early morning surveys. I am expecting lots of species on the close-cropped cliff tops and adjacent Atlantic rocky beach and cliffs if I can keep my eyes away from the scenery.

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