Thursday, 25 May 2017

Devon detour

A family get together organised by my sister to Dartmouth, what could possibly go wrong?  After a flurry of good birds in east London a lull in the procession meant it was probably safe to leave the Pointless London Listing Project for at least a couple of days: Black Kite, Osprey and the real kick in the balls–Common Crane, which lasted a whole day only to hoof it north the next while I was heading back through the west country.  I mean frickkin' arse!

The view from the balcony: could just make out Manx Shearwater crossing the mouth of the estuary through the scope

I had been looking forward to a bit of sea watching in some wet and grimey weather on one of the headlands, but the forecast was wrong again: clear skies though the wind was in the right direction.  Sea watching was a bust: A trcikle of manxies way out to sea, a small group of Common Scoter, a handful of Guillemot and a few feeding Kittiwake.  Slapton Ley, where as a kid I got my first adult Red-throated Diver, was very quiet the only diver, a Great-northern, off shore.

The steep wooded slopes were also  migrant free, but full of the song of thrushes, Blackcap and Robin and empty of what I was hoping for and might have expected.

On the plus side I did find two singing Cirl Bunting, one not 100 yards from our accommodation, which has got to be a good sign towards their recolonisation of that stretch of coast.

Above: Slapton Ley

On Sunday the sea watching wasn't any better, the scenery can't be faulted, so I spent most of the day wandering around the headland west of the town–more bugs and botany than birds.

Found my first Black Oil Beetle, a formidable looking insect with quite a grip, and another first in a Hummingbird Hawkmoth (I saw one in the Scillies years ago) among a patch of weeds in town.

Too much good food, booze, little sleep and too many steep hills...

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The invisible gobby warbler

Renowned for their secretive yet explosively noisy manner, the Cetti's is a tricky bird to get any decent views of.  Yesterday one cocky individual decided to brave exposure.  Lucky for me it did else I would have been half way round the sea wall when news of the Black-winged Stilts broke.  Not that it would have mattered they were still there at 19:00.