Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Wildlife bits and bobs

Sunday 4th November and a very muddy clifftop footpath at Wembury meant a walk along the beach instead, something I only do about once a year. Walking along the beach gave me the oppurtunity to have a look through the shells washed up on the beach and I finally found a blue rayed limpet! The blue rays are only really visible when the shell is wet and at certain angles to the light but its a very pretty shell. I also found some black-footed limpet shells and Arctic- and spotted cowrie shells, not realising that there are different types of limpets and 2 types of cowrie until I bought the Collins complete guide to British coastal wildlife (as recommended on Skev's B.L.O.G) following my nephews visit in the Summer when my lack of knowledge on rockpool wildlife became apparent.

 Blue Rayed Limpet
 Blue Rayed Limpet
 Black Footed Limpet
Spotted Cowrie (left) and Arctic Cowrie (right)

It was quite breezey so bird wise it was quiet with 16 Canada geese feeding in the stubble field, a flyby raven being mobbed by 2 rook and 2 jackdaw showing size differentiation very well, 3+ cirl buntings in the sewage farm hedge and a kestrel. A hunt for parasol mushrooms to cook for tea drew a blank but I enjoyed my last Chunk pasty of the year as it was the last day the cafe will be open until Christmas week.

Monday 5th November and a walk around The Hoe and The Barbican was very productive with a good view of a grey seal just outside the Sutton Harbour lock gates, it looked very large but not as big or pale as the big male I saw there around a year ago.

Grey Seal

A feathered ranunculus was found on a wall near a light on the wall of the National Marime Aquarium while on Sutton Harbour itself a little grebe was diving for fish and 26 mute swans were being fed on scraps of bread along with herring and black headed gulls.

Feathered Ranunculus
 Little Grebe
Black-headed Gull

Surprise bird was a guillemot which allowed very close views as it snorkelled for fish before diving underwater, it was very strange to see it "flying" underwater chasing after fish. It looked a little moribund and it appeared to have some damage on its left wing joint but was able to use the wing while underwater, it was also seen preening when it was quite aggressive towards a juvenile herring gull that was paying a bit too much interest.

 Guillemot - with some damage on its left wing "elbow"
 Guillemot snorkelling for fish

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