The team here at RSPB South Stack have been enjoying the sunshine and so have the wildlife. Last week an adder slithered up to the visitor centre, a rare treat to see these secretive reptiles up close.
The adder, Britain’s only venomous snake is quite common throughout the UK and lives in bushy undergrowth which makes seeing one tricky. Although venomous, these snakes are non aggressive only attacking when provoked or if trodden on. Adders hibernate between September and March, with most activity occurring around April time when Males look for a mate. Unlike other reptiles, adders give birth to live young which are about the same size as an earth worm.
Adder by Ben Andrew (RSPB - Images.com)
Other reptiles South Stack provides a home for are common lizards which can sometimes be seen from the path from the bottom car park towards Ellin’s Tower and slow worms, a legless lizard.
Common Lizard by Ben Andrew (RSPB - Images.com)
The Slow worm, a legless lizard, picture by Ben Andrew (RSPB-Images.com)
To find out more about these wonderful reptiles book on to one of our Snake and Lizard Safaris, 21 August and 31 August, 10:30am – 11:30am or 3:30pm – 4:30pm. See our events page on our website for more information.
July and August are great months to spot Butterflies and here at the reserve peacocks, red admirals, meadow browns, small tortoiseshell, common blues and painted lady butterflies have all been seen on the reserve recently. Another small but very beautiful butterfly to look out for is the silver – studded blue. South Stack is home to a number of small colonies of this rare butterfly that lives in colonies on the Heathland. The butterflies take advantage from a mutual relationship with ants usually laying their eggs near ant nest sites. The newly emerged caterpillar larvae secretes a sweet liquid from a gland which feeds the ants and in return the ants offer protection to the larvae from predators. These butterflies can be seen from July to mid August.
A common visitor to gardens, the Peacock butterfly by Grahame Madge (RSPB-Images.com)
Love Lepidoptera? Book your place on our next moth event. Sunday 27 July 9:45am – 11:45am.
For more information on any of our events follow the link to our events page http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/s/southstackcliffs/events.aspx,
Email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the reserve on 01407 762100
We have much to report since our last blog to keep you updated with the latest news from South Stack Cliffs.
For those of you that have visited us over the last two months, you may have been some of the lucky few to catch a glimpse of our peregrine falcon nest. We were lucky enough to follow the chick’s progress right from hatching to fledging on Thursday 19 June. Both adults and chick are still being seen in the area as the parents continue to feed the chick while it learns to hunt. Call into the visitor centre to see the wonderful photograph of the young falcon taken by regular volunteer Mel which landed outside of Ellin's Tower last week.
Denise, the warden here at South Stack has just completed some of the bird counts for the reserve. The chough numbers for this year are 9 breeding pairs fledging 20 chicks. Some sad news in that the Mousetrap chicks failed to fledge successfully, however, family groups are now being seen on and around the reserve with visitors being treated to close up views and wonderful aerial displays.
Juvenile chough at South Stack by Ben Hall (RSPB-Images)
Guillemot chicks can be seen from the telescopes in Ellin’s tower. A little later than expected but it’s great to pick out these wonderful fluffy chicks amongst the thousands of birds lined up on the cliffs.
Guillemots on cliffs by Andy Hay (RSPB-Images)
Saturday the 22 June saw the return of our annual Heathland celebration day! We enjoyed glorious weather as we celebrated everything to do with the heathland and the work between the RSPB and local partnerships. The sheep shearing and sheep dog demonstrations were fascinating to watch, visitors could try their hand at spinning wool and the lamb stew went down a treat! A big thank you to everyone involved who made the day run smoothly and we hope everyone who attended the event had a pleasant day. Below are some photos of the day.
Overview of Heathland Celebration Day.
Spinners from the Anglesey and Gwynedd guild of spinners and weavers.
Public engagement officer Hayley and Pete a local shepherd with one of the lambs.
Looking at Moths with Membership Development Officer Stuart.
One of our visitors having ago at weaving.
That’s all for now. For a list and details of more events here at South Stack Cliffs visit our events page on our website.