I spent a day doing some assessment work with a colleague, Clare, last week. We spent the entire day trawling the cliffs and beach between Baggy Point and Saunton, on the North Devon coast. I use the word trawl advisedly, as it didn't arf rain... Despite the unpleasant conditions, we found large quantities of Autumn Squill along the cliff, as well as some exceedingly unperturbed sheep.
Sheep contemplates pursuing the ultimate aim in an ovine life: suicide.
Sheep stoically chewing over the remains of some clifftop vegetation on Baggy Point.
Further along the cliffs is the main UK population of a small moss, called Cordate Beard-moss. It seems to be happy, amongst a very large population of Scrambled-egg lichen. A bit of the nationally scarce Sea Stock Matthiola sinuata enlivened a superbly soggy end to the working day.
A random picture of two lasses watching the surf - and the surfers at Saunton Sands.
A stark reminder at Slapton that disease is a part of life for everything: we came across this unfortunate juvenile Blackbird, which is probably not much longer for this world. Not only showing some gross tumours, but the skin around the head was crawling with ectoparasites - a veritable garden of delights for a parasitologist, but I'm not one of those. Don't think we'll be seeing that bird again! If you're of a sensitive nature, don't scroll any further along this posting, please.
Whatever the cause, this is a pretty grotesque set of growths on a wild bird.