After the heavy rains late last year, the cliff is on the move again and so the Western end is closed for safety reasons. However, walking down by the shore through the variety of January weather and sea conditions has proved very rewarding, resulting in many new photos being added this month, including Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Oystercatcher, Stonechat and, perhaps most prized of all, a vastly improved photo of one of last month's new visitors, the Great Crested Grebe, taken on its one and only sighting of the month. The occasional Grey Wagtail has been seen, sometimes going around with one or more of the more usual Pied Wagtails.

December's other new visitors, the Turnstones were not seen this month. Then, on the last day of the month, there was just the one bird perched on a rock. To my surprise, it seemed content to stand there while I took a few shots. To my even greater surprise, when I looked at the picture, it turned out to be a Ringed Plover - my first sighting of this bird on the cliff. The Turnstones are still awaited!

A second case of mistaken identity arose when I came across what I took to be Rock Pipits. However, I submitted the photos to a more expert opinion and they turned out to be Meadow Pipits - again a new sighting. We then took some more Pipit pictures at Stanpit Marsh a few days later, and things got even more confusing. So much so, that there is now a new page dedicated to the Puzzle of the Pipits!

Kestrels have been notable by their absence this month and Cormorant sightings have been pretty infrequent too. However, the Stonechats are flying around as energetically as ever and by the end of the month a few of the Black headed gulls had developed their black heads - an encouraging sign for the coming of Spring.

January 2003