Wildlife - January
As Winter passes the sound of early birdsong from amongst the Blackthorn, Hawthorn and Hazel hedgerows can be heard. The melodious Song Thrush, Blackbird, Dunnock and Robin, joined by the quick-quick-slow of a Chaffinch. Greenfinches, Bullfinches and Redwing flit amongst the Gorse and Elder bushes. Leaves are beginning to emerge from the ground, with the bright green, sometimes spotted leaf of the Lords & Ladies or Cuckoo Pint. A warm early evening can provide views of Badgers and Pipistrelle Bats.
Flocks of small birds foraging through the woods may include: Blue, Great, Marsh and Coal Tits, Treecreepers, Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs. These are beginning to sing as the breeding season approaches. Many of the woodland trees provide support for the Ivy, now heavy with berries, a very important food source at this time of year. The bright blue, white and pink colour of the Jay catches the eye, as may a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. At night the hooting of a Tawny Owl is an often present sound. In the leaf litter, Hairy Steruem and Chanterelle, while on rotting branches Coral Spot, Jews Ear, Coriolus versicolor and Bracket fungus, may be found.
Bottle-nosed Dolphins are often seen from the clifftop path at this time of year. Please report any sightings to the wardens. Guillemots and Razorbills have started to return to the breeding ledges, while Fulmars are soaring the cliffs and Shags may just be starting to show their crest. Further out at sea; Gannets, Scoter, Brent Geese and divers may pass in good numbers, especially during Easterly winds. Look out for a Peregrine Falcon disturbing the resident Feral Pigeon and Stock Dove population. A warm day may bring out a Brimstone or Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, or an Adder.