Thursday 27 December 2018

2018 Wildlife Review: Mammals, Fish, Reptiles and Amphibians


It was another quiet year for cetaceans with a Common Dolphin on 1st January continuing from 2017 and up to two Harbour Porpoise in April & May turning out to be the only records. A second Common Dolphin was stranded in late December. Distant pods in August could not be assigned to a species resulting in no positive sightings of Bottle-nosed Dolphin this year. This may be linked to a poor year for Bass offshore.
Common Dolphin - Alan Keatley

Seals faired better with regular reports of one or two Common and Grey Seal throughout the year.

Despite there being at least two dens on site Foxes can be elusive during the daytime, however regularly seen tracks on the Dune Ridge do betray their nocturnal wanderings. Even more elusive are Stoat and Weasel, both rarely seen, but again tracks on sand give away their continued presence.


Fox - Alan Keatley

Rabbit are also ever present but numbers do fluctuate during the year and from year to year with disease being an influential factor. Despite the low numbers it was a significant improvement on recent years
An exciting find was a Water Vole on the Main Pond on 1st September, the first record since 2014 (coincidentally the 2014 sighting was at the beginning of September) and probably represents a wandering non-territorial male from a nearby off site colony.


A Basking Shark, only the second for the Recording Area, was off the seawall on 18th August.

Reptiles and Amphibians 
The elements were against Common and Sand Lizard populations this year with the very cold weather in early March delaying emergence from hibernation. Any early risers would  have literally been caught out by the cold. It wasn’t until late March/April that any lizards were seen out and about and it wasn't until mid May they were in good numbers.
However the very hot Summer weather curtailed activity as they retreated to their burrows during the hottest part of the day. Another and more permanent threat caused by weather this year was the lost of habitat and breeding areas, with hundreds of yards of sand dune sheared away by Autumn storms.
Sand Lizard - Simon Thurgood
The only Slowworm sighting was a late adult predated by a Blackbird in Dead Dolphin Wood in early October. This is close to previous sightings and was no doubt attached to the temporary creation of ideal hibernating conditions around the fire site.
Worryingly amphibians are also becoming increasingly rare on site with only the occasional sighting of wandering Common Frog and Common Toad in the Meadows. This year did however see a welcome increase in toadlets emerging from the Main Pond.

No comments:

Post a Comment