Wednesday, 10 August 2011

There's no newt like a (no) show newt

The Safari dodged the rain for a while on patch 1 this morning and saw that one of the Peregrines was on the tower doing the same. Then we got soaked and envied the bird tucked up nice and dry on the leeward side.
A slightly earlier departure than normal from Base Camp had us heading in the opposite direction to help with some Great Crested Newt mitigation works. One of the local schools is having an all-weather playing area built during the hols and there is a population of said rarities nearby so every morning a suitably licensed volunteer has to walk the site before the machinery can start up.
This was our first visit and we found no amphibians of any species to translocate to a place of safety. The work area is surrounded by a ‘weedy’ mound and it was here we got a big surprise. Amongst the bits of plastic and empty crisp packets that had blown through the fence a small pale thing caught our eye, bending down we discovered it was a Common Blue butterfly – a very hopeful individual as it was angled to catch the morning sun or more likely the driving cold rain!

The over night rain had also brought out a few Garden Snails and this little cluster of Brown Lipped Banded Snails, there was a fourth but it was a little far away to get in the pic with the others.

Slugs too were enjoying the recent rain. These two were pretty chunky beasts, while this one posed quite nicely for a portrait.
The guys had stripped away the topsoil ad revealed the glacial till beneath. We had a quick scout round and picked up a handful of different rocks. You can tell they’re glacial by the broken faces which are worn from them moving against the grit and other stones in the glacier.

They are 1. Limestone 2. Mudstone 3. Sandstone 4. Limestone 5. & 6. Mudstone 7. A Granite 8. A different type of granite 9. Quartz and have been transported here from elsewhere; the Limestone and Quartz from the south Lakes or Yorkshire, the Mudstone from the Pennines, the sandstone – not sure, and the Granite could have come from the Lake District, Northern Ireland or Southern Scotland.

Lunchtime gave us a blasting in the very strong wind but only a Kittiwake and about 30 Common Scoters to show for our efforts. There could have been many more scoters but they were being tossed around in the maelstrom and very difficult to get more than a glimpse of at a time. No sign of any pelagic ‘House Martins’...maybe if the wind stays as it is although the direction isn’t the best.

Not unsurprisingly no one turned up for our beach event mid afternoon.

Where to next? More mitigation tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who made the weather forecast booboo in your outback

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