Stirring up a storm
The seas around Gunwalloe are home to the wrecks of the Santo António, a Portuguese ship wrecked during a storm almost 500 years ago, and the San Salvador, a Spanish ship wrecked over 300 years ago. Inspired by recent stormy weather I headed down to Dollar Cove at Gunwalloe to see if anything interesting had been washed up (although note I was neither expecting or hoping for a ship). Before I even got down to the beach I noticed that sea foam had been blown up to the footpath. Sea foam is created by the agitation of seawater, which is why it is often associated with stormier sea conditions.
Marbled Rock Crab: a new colonist?
In July 2015, while torching some rock pools at night east of Lizard Point, I noticed a crab that was unfamiliar, but also familiar. I secured a record shot with the help of Luke Marsh, which was essential for the next steps, and released the crab.
As I started to research the identity its familiarity dawned on me as a rock crab species, a family that I, and anybody who has visited the area, will be familiar with as being found on the Atlantic Islands. The Red Rock Crab is a large and obvious species there, along with the smaller Marbled Rock Crab. I checked over the features and sent in the record for verification.
Historic Boundary Hedge Restoration at Teneriffe
Predannack Cliffs and Teneriffe Farm on the west coast of the Lizard are an extremely diverse historic landscape. There is the coastal grassland and heathland of the National Nature Reserve, and the ancient and unchanged coastal fields where the boundaries have always remain untouched. And then there are the slightly inland fields, which are a little more productive, and the arable fields of Teneriffe. Every field is different. Stone hedging forms the boundaries, some is ancient and some not quite so old.
Winter storms - El Niño?
As 2016 gets underway, many communities in the north of England and Scotland are beginning the long clear up after repeated bouts of flooding, with the possibility of more to come. The Lizard, like many places in the southwest, seems to have escaped the worst of the flooding so far, though Storm Frank ushered in the New Year in Cornwall with high winds and heavy rain. Stormy weather is a feature of our winters, but when one storm after another makes landfall on our shores – as in 2013-14 and now in 2015-16 – we start to wonder aloud what the causes are.
A weather review for the Lizard 2015
The Lizard is renowned for being the warmest place in mainland Britain, with frosts and snow rarely experienced and little difference between the seasons; mild damp winters, and cool summers.
As I’m writing this in the middle of December, the temperature outside is a balmy 15C. Daffodils are in full bloom, the frogs are breeding, cherries are blossoming and trees are coming into bud. Whilst this peculiar weather isn’t particularly unusual on the Lizard, the rest of the UK seems to be experiencing the same. Weird weather indeed.
Globally, 2015 has been the warmest year on record, with temperatures over 1.5C higher than the long-term average. Whilst this has much to do with the El-Nino effect, it also reflects climate change predictions. Britain’s weather on the whole has been characterised by generally cool conditions, particularly during the height of summer which was decidedly cloudy, damp and cool.
Graph from NOOA showing global temperatures; 1.5C above average.
Invisible Stock Fencing!! We ARE Living in The Future!!
Caerthillian Cove on the south west tip of The Lizard peninsula is a site of botanical splendour. It is winter grazed by ponies to conserve its wonderful floristic diversity. In recent years the animals have been contained within temporary electric fencing. Despite being minimalistic this is still labour intensive, inconvenient for walkers, and detracts from the glorious landscape. This winter we are experimenting with an invisible fence system –and at the moment we are still holding our breath!!