16 January 2017
Lots of stonechats around at present, thanks to the generally mild winter. You can see them perched up on tall stems of dead vegetation or fence-posts either side of the sea walls. An extended cold spell would cause them serious problems, though.
Friday 13 January
On the ploughed fields between SS and East Lane to the west of the seawall there are flocks of golden plover. They are quite invisible until one of them calls and when you scan the field you then see up to 100 of them picking over the soil. Plovers have sometimes been thought birds of omen but if this Friday 13th turns out to bring calamitous floods, as forecast by the secular authorities, the birds at least are betraying no foreboding.
11 January 2017
Highlight of early January has been the presence of short-eared owls over the rough pasture S of the Tower (now happily restored to vigour after the depredations of the sheep last year, and so a refuge for voles again). Unfortunately, they have sometimes been harassed by the photographers eager for the definitive 'killer shot' but they have also been observed and enjoyed by residents like Juliet Johnson and Caroline Reekie who have reported their sightings to me. Wonderful birds to watch in that easy gliding flight, showing the palette of subtle browns and buff in the wing feathers.
12 January 2017
The rocks in the East Lane defences are beginning to become a little mini-environment. They are greening very nicely with sea-weed, which attracts its own marine life, which in turn has become a resource for purple sandpipers (a rare visitor on this coast, more at home on the rocky shores of the NE). There was one roosting in full view on the old breakwater – how about a new groyne to attract some others!
30 December 2016
Thanks to everyone who has supported and contributed to this survey over the last two years. It continues! I have already noted various additions to those listed in the appendix of our booklet, Knowing Your Place: wildlife in SS, and I've arranged for some experts to come here in 2017 to do proper surveys of some categories that were not fully covered first time round. We plan a second edition at some stage and will keep you posted. Meanwhile a happy and successful new year to all ... including the wildlife.
3 August 2016
A cuckoo on the fence posts near the Battery. Maybe the last of the season. The avocets in the lagoon just further on have reared one chick successfully, despite the interference from walkers and dogs.
29 July 2016
The first grayling of the year, rather later than usual – but the buddleia (one of its favourite foodplants) is about two weeks late. There's a distinct shortage of some butterflies this year – no small coppers so far and no wall (for which we are a special site). Maybe they will all emerge in August if we get some sunny weather.
25 July 2016
It's been a poor year for butterflies generally, but in the last day or two there has been a flush of gatekeepers emerging and larger numbers of red admirals and peacocks. The Buddleias came into flower in the last day or two so here's hoping for more to follow.
17 July 2016
Large numbers of hirundines (mostly swallows) gathering, early and late in the day. Also a flock of about 50 curlews in the large field. Both are nice sights and sounds, but probably the start of autumn passage ...
1 July 2016
The avocets have raised one young successfully in the lagoons to the south. Amazing given the wet weather and the constant disturbance from walkers and their dogs. There was a male marsh harrier hunting over the fields by Oxley Dairy this afternoon, joined by a short-eared owl, presumably the same one that has been hanging around recent weeks.