Thursday, December 27, 2012

Revisiting the landslip

I revisited the landslip in Totland Bay/Colwell Bay late this afternoon but, this time, from the Colwell Bay side where the structural damage to the sea wall is much less extensive, hardly noticeable in fact. I spoke to one person who watched the Council clearing away a mudslide at this spot on Christmas Eve, so it looks like the big slip happened some time on Christmas Day.

A pair of Ravens are inspecting the mud here.

There was a beautiful sunset over The Needles as I watched.

The video sequence below is not brilliant, but gives an idea of the scene:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Following heavy rain over the last few days there has been a dramatic landslip along the promenade at the Totland Bay/Colwell Bay headland (The second bay heading north on the west side of the aerial photo of the West Wight on the blog banner photo). Here's a bit of video footage:

...and here are a few stills from the footage:

As you can see, walking along this section of the promenade is not really very sensible. The sea has undercut the damaged section and washed away a lot of the supporting in-fill, and it could all drop into the sea over the next few days!

Did you notice the dead Razorbill floating past at the start of the sequence?
 It's the first Razorbill I've recorded on the West Wight - shame it's floating and not flying! But I was pleased to record my first Common Scoter, too - a female in Freshwater Bay.

HMC Vigilant was off Fort Victoria...probably deterring any Caulkheads from making escape bids to the mainland! This is the third of 5 cutters operated by the UK Border Agency.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Winter Moth

I thought I'd finished recording garden moths for 2012 a few months back, so I was pleasantly surprised to come across this Winter Moth on the door pane last night! Admittedly, it's been relatively mild, but this wee beastie can actually survive sub-zero temperatures due to a chemical in its blood that acts like antifreeze.

A drab creature with a colourful life history!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


There's been good numbers of Dunlin present on the Western Yar over the last week or so. Here on the West Wight they're really confiding and sometimes allow you to approach them to within just a few metres while they are feeding. They forage with a rapid up-and-down bill motion, well-described as stitching. For geeky Dunlin-dudes, an amazing study on the probing & pecking frequency of Dunlin feeding in Japan has been published here.

That's a bit high-brow for me, so I thought I'd share something completely different: a video of foraging Dunlin captured in Yarmouth Marina a few days ago with a very appropriate accompaniment from some work going on in the background (make sure you have your volume turned up!):

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Harvest Mouse!!

Ever since arriving on the Isle of Wight, in the late summer of 2011, I have been hoping to catch up with that most secretive of small mammals, the Harvest Mouse. Many wondered if it was extinct after no sightings or signs for a number of years, but these fascinating little creatures have a habit of passing 'under the radar'. Then, in the last few years, empty nests have been located at a few different places - it looks like the IOW Harvest Mouse is alive and well!

On Monday, I decided it was about time I set up the Trailcam to see if I could get some live footage. After catching the Harvest Mouse in Bedfordshire in the midst of deep bramble a few years ago (See here), I set up a feeding station in the middle of a bramble patch.

I picked up the camera early this morning....and I could have picked it up yesterday morning because the card had been filled on the first evening with 379 images of 30 seconds each!

I was not surprised to find that almost all of the images featured Wood Mice that devoured the seed. In this clip you can see 6 together!

As I neared the end of the clips I was getting to the point where I needed a break...but then reached video sequence 370:

I reckon that this is a Harvest Mouse!!! Notice the more diminutive size, flatter nose, and less obvious ears. The other option is Bank Vole, and I did wonder whether I had got a bit over-excited and too focused on Harvest Mouse, but the whole jizz seems to suggest Harvest Mouse, especially when it is sitting on its haunches and, as one friend points out, the brief view of the tail seems to suggest that it is too long for Bank Vole though, on the other hand, too short for Harvest Mouse! If it is, this is the first view of a live individual that's been seen on the Isle of Wight for a number of years. I really need to get the camera back out there and, hopefully, get some better footage.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rock Pipit

Rock Pipits are regularly seen around this part of the coast, and this individual has been a frequent visitor to the area immediately in front of the mill at Yarmouth. It was wonderful to watch it foraging on the rocks and amongst the seaweed in bright sunshine. I couldn't resist getting a few minutes on video: