Saturday, 31 March 2018

The wind whipped around to the north, and despite a good level of census coverage, it was clear that birds were keeping a low profile. Totals were down on yesterday, with five Manx Shearwaters, one Gannet, five Cormorants and nine Common Scoters offshore. Two female Merlins were on the south end. Wader totals came to 83 Oystercatchers, 13 Purple Sandpipers, 12 Dunlins, 8 Snipes, two Curlews, 14 Redshanks and five Turnstones. Other sightings included a Little Owl, the long-staying Great Spotted Woodpecker, 71 Meadow Pipits, 18 Rock Pipits, two Stonechats, two Wheatears, two Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and six Goldcrests. Three Chaffinches, six Goldfinches and five Linnets were the only finches recorded.

Even when the birds aren't necessarily performing, there always seems to be something else of interest to look at. Glittering Wood-moss (Hylocomium splendens) was living up to its scientific name on the mountain. It almost appeared to be glowing amongst the dead heather and grasses.

Glittering Wood-moss

At the other end of the size scale, you have to really squint to notice Tortula cuneifolia growing on the eroded soil banks down by the lime kiln. It may not be spectacular to look at, but this moss has only been recorded from a few other coastal sites in the whole of the UK!

 Tortula cuneifolia 

Tortula cuneifolia habitat

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