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2015 - Wild Watch results

You can view the map of our 2015 data here.

 Summary of Results from 2015 to mid year,

Kingfisher

So far there have only been 3 reported sightings of the kingfisher with all sightings along the River Barle. Kingfishers are found along slow moving or still water bodies where they hunt for small fish and aquatic insects.

Brown hare

So far there have been 11 sightings reported of the brown hare, mainly on farmland. The most of these sightings have occurred during the spring, when there are more likely to been seen as the breeding season encourages fighting.  The brown hare’s breeding season runs from February to September, producing 3-4 litters per year.

Hedgehog

So far there have been 19 reported sightings of hedgehog on Exmoor. Most of these sightings have been around villages, towns and farmland as hedgerows are an important part of the hedgehog’s habitat. The geographical spread is most intriguing with sightings of hedgehogs up on moorland areas such as Blackpitts and Winsford Hill as well as in Dulverton, Withypool, Winsford, Bossington and Exford. However, the best location to date must go to ‘in my tent at Westermill Farm’.

Hedgehogs have gone through a rapid population decline in the UK. The exact reason for the decline is unknown, but it is believed that intensive agriculture, pesticide use, tidier gardens and increased traffic on roads are factors that are contributing to the decline.  Sadly as shown by the Wild Watch map some of the hedgehogs that were reported seen where the victims to traffic. 

Cuckoo

The cuckoo was the species with the greatest amount of reported sightings, with an impressive 152 reports sent in. This is great news as the cuckoo is on the RSPB’s Red Status list meaning that this is a species that is global threated and has suffered population decline in the UK as there are now only 16000 breeding pairs in  the UK.

The cuckoo migrates from Africa, so it can only be found in the UK from late March until August. The wild watch map shows that the cuckoo was seen and heard all over Exmoor form April to June, especially in moorland and woodland areas.  The first reported cuckoo, to date, was on Porlock hill on April 14th closely followed by other sightings at Simonsbath and Dunkery; 24 hrs earlier than 2014. Incredibly, in just a week, there were over 90 sightings of Cuckoos on Exmoor.

Red kite

So far there have been 23 reported sightings of red kites on Exmoor. Most of these sightings have been around the coast and valley areas of Exmoor. This birds are likely to be juveniles exploring from wales, the midlands and France. The timings of these sightings has been fascinating.  The first red kite was spotted in March, six in April, a similar number in May, peaking with 10 in June, but not a single sighting since! It is particularly positive that a pair of birds of have been seen on a number of occasions;  could they be breeding on Exmoor?.

Wood ants nest

There have been four reported sightings of wood ant nests. These sightings have all been in woodland areas in the north-east Exmoor.

Green hairstreak butterfly

There have been a total of 27 reported sightings of the Green Hairstreak butterfly all in the north moorland and woodland areas of Exmoor, especially near Bossington Hill.  

Green tiger beetle

There has only been one reported sighting of 3 individuals on the moorland on Dunkery.  

Emperor moth

There have only been two reported sightings of the Emperor moth. Both of these sightings have been in gardens. Sadly both these moths where seen dead.

String-of-sausages lichen

There have been 11 sightings of string of sausages lichen. These sightings have been seen in moorland and woodland across Exmoor. A Wild Watch success story has certainly been the string-of-sausages lichen which is nationally very rare; it looks like something that would not look out of place in a butchers!  Exmoor, in theory, is an ideal habitat though little is known of its coverage.  Wild Watch sightings have highlighted a number of sites including Winsford Hill, Withypool, Molland Common, Watersmeet, Wimbleball and Haddon Hill which is brilliant.