Archive for December 24th, 2007

24th December 2007, Monday

Un-seasonal slow-worm

Whilst visiting Hawkhurst today I found my latest ever slow-worm, a juvenile animal lying on the road near some allotments. This record is possibly beyond the edge of the RX area but there may be other reptiles out and about in our patch during spells of unusually mild weather.

 Slow-worm with distinctive patttern of yellow spots on side of head2nd slow-worm with distinctive pattern of spots on side of head

These reptiles do well in gardens and allotments. Read the rest of this entry »

24th December 2007, Monday

Still there

The Shore Lark was still present amongst Skylark on the saltmarsh near the Red Roofed Hut this morning.

24th December 2007, Monday

TQ 81 M (Guestling Hall)

Saturday 22nd December: 38 species

2007-12-23 036.jpg

Soft solstitial sunshine made counting easier as singing birds made their presence known from woods and mature gardens.

The many steep wooded ghylls running down from the tall Ridge were full of Blue and Great Tits, so much so that, when I entered up my count for the former on the Winter Atlas website, “Unusually High Count” flashed up in cautionary red. There were plenty of Coal Tits and Nuthatches too (one fluting so fearlessly it sounded like a Mistle Thrush) but I crossed paths with no Long-tailed or Marsh Tits.

Rising temperatures had not yet thawed the ponds at Birchen Knoll Farm, making Moorhens easy to count as they were forced to forage in the open, and Redwings were feeding in hedges rather than on frozen grass, though Blackbirds were finding food among leaf litter on the woodland floor. Also at Birchen Knoll were a few Meadow Pipits, a Yellowhammer, and I could hear at least one Siskin calling from the Alders in the valley bottom. Read the rest of this entry »

24th December 2007, Monday

Just bare gravel? Not quite

Dungeness and Rye Harbour support internationally important areas of shingle vegetation. Yet when you look at these sites there is a lot of bare gravel and its tempting to assume it is of no botanical value. Take a close look however, and a different picture emerges, for despite its lifeless appearance the gravel is actually vegetated. Where the flints have been allowed to lie undisturbed for some time they are home to a range of encrusting lichens like the black specimens below.
 Encrusting lichens on a flint

Sometimes at first sight it appears that the gravel has been splashed by a careless painter.  Read the rest of this entry »