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...