Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Seaham - Ryhope

Yesterday was one of those days when I thought I shouldn’t bother, then changed my mind and regretted the latter. It was bitterly cold and a strong cold wind had just blown the mist away when I set off for the coast. I decided to walk the 4 miles from Ryhope to Seaham along the coastal path but with the wind blowing strongly from the south, opted to do it in reverse.
The temperature was -4C and according to the weather forecast the wind chill would make it feel like -8C - I believe it. Of course what I foolishly didn’t check was the tide situation and it had just hit high tide. That together with the high seas confirmed I had made a lousy decision.

Nonetheless, off I set, if nothing else, to get some fresh air. Most of this stretch is on top of 15m high coastal cliffs, with the high watermark not far from the cliff base,  so I at least had 50m of clifftop grassland to check as I walked along. This should be helpful in getting the final species total up later in the year and due to the tides it was the really the only option to check for anything today. This proved correct and did give me a couple of birds not normally associated with the seashore,  namely a covery of 8 Grey Partridge in a piece of arable and a hen Bullfinch at the entrace to Ryhope Colliery Dene, as well as my first mammal, even if it was only a Rabbit.

Phragmites australis (Common Reed) on the cliff top

Tortula muralis (Wall screw moss) at the entrance to Ryhope Colliery Dene

So another 35 species so up to 118 species  (1882 to go)

Falco tinnunculus            Common Kestrel
Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus    British Wren
Pyrrhula pyrrhula             Bullfinch
Motacilla alba yarrellii        Pied Wagtail
Corvus monedula                Jackdaw
Columba livia                 Feral Pigeon
Vanellus vanellus             Lapwing
Sturnus merula                Common Starling
Turdus merula                Blackbird
Perdix perdix                Grey Partridge
Columba palumbus             Wood Pigeon
Oryctolagus cuniculus              Rabbit
Ensis ensis                  Common Razor shell
Modiolus modiolus              Horse Mussel
Lophocolea bidentata              Bifid Crestwort
Brachythecium rutabulum            Rough-stalked Feather-moss
Tortula muralis             Wall Screw-moss
Marchantia polymorpha subsp. ruderalis  Common Liverwort
Eupatorium cannabinum              Hemp-agrimony
Juncus effusus                 Soft-rush
Deschampsia cespitosa             Tufted Hair-grass
Phragmites australis              Common Reed
Teucrium scorodonia             Wood Sage
Dipsacus fullonum              Wild Teasel
Holcus lanatus              Yorkshire-fog
Pteridium aquilinum             Bracken
Sambucus nigra                 Elder
Fraxinus excelsior              Ash
Heracleum sphondylium              Hogweed
Trifolium repens             White Clover
Dactylis glomerata             Cock's-foot
Vicia sativa                 Common Vetch
Vicia sepium                  Bush Vetch
Cerastium fontanum              Common Mouse-ear
Urtica dioica                  Common Nettle


  1. Hello, I was wondering if you have ever seen a bombus monticola at Waldridge Fell? I was trying to find information about sightings of them in the North East, I know they have been seen in west and Northumberland....you seem like a good source of information. I would be grateful for your help. Sophie

    1. Sorry SophiesI just never look at this blog now but the answer is yes I see it regularly on the Bilberry.

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