Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Update from Falmouth

It has been a busy couple of weeks upon returning to Falmouth. It was good to finish exams last week, but the first few lectures of the term have eased in now, and getting back into the Uni timetable has produced plenty of work! I am part of the new editorial team for the campus-run Biology magazine 'Life', and so have been helping preparing the spring issue for release later in February; I am helping out with a talk by A Focus On Nature at Butterfly Conservation's annual conference in Birmingham at the end of the month; and getting involved with the campus societies and planning trips to various areas around the county has provided further entertainment! It has also been great to get out birding when the weather allows- and I haven't had to go far to be treated to some brilliant wildlife! The campus grounds have been teeming with wintering birds recently, from finch flocks to tit flocks; thrushes like Redwings and Blackbirds plucking earthworms from the soft earth, to chats like Robins and Stonechats picking out insects in areas of soft ground, and some cracking species like Green Woodpeckers and Jays have paid the odd visit.

I have enjoyed getting out with fellow photographers and naturalists Will Hawkes, Max Thompson and Jack Barton to various places, including Somerset last Sunday. The estuaries around Falmouth and nearby coast have been good fun to explore, with Red-necked and Black-necked Grebes, Great Northern and Black-throated Divers, and plenty of Mediterranean Gulls to entertain. Firecrests seem to be lower in abundance than when I left the county back in December, but I have still come across the odd one. It has been cool to come across migrants like Blackcaps and Common Sandpipers that have decided to overwinter in the area, too, no doubt a product of the wet and mild climate presiding over the area.

I plan to write a few blog posts in the next week or so, introducing this year's birding Patch for the 2016 Patchwork Challenge, and showing a few of the invertebrates that we have been discovering on night-time walks around the nearby reservoirs. Here are some images from recent weeks and days for now!

A tame male Stonechat on campus

a very smart Green Woodpecker


Redwing and a pretty wholesome worm!

Close encounter with the local Mute Swans!

Little Grebes on the local Swanpool 

Tufted Ducks

Common Sandpiper- not the typical wader you expect to come across at this time of year!

Great Northern Diver

Mint Leaf Beetle (Chrysolina menthastri

 Springtail (Collembola sp.)

Walnut Orb-weaver (Nuctenea umbratica)

Hawthorn Shieldbug

Tetragnatha extensia