2 Canada geese were feeding in the stubble field, the first of the year here. 8 male and 6 female mallard were feeding along the beach, 1 of the females being of the domesticated variety with very pale brown plumage. The finch/bunting flock was still present in the weedy field in the old HMS Cambridge grounds, they continue to be very flighty and nervous, flying up into the hedgerow frequently where at least 7 bright yellow male yellowhammers were counted along with at least 2 male and a female cirl bunting. A chiffchaff flitting about in the shrubs along the beach was a nice find, it had very dark legs and twitched its tail downwards regularly as it moved through the branches.
The water pipit in winter plumage was eventually found feeding with rock and meadow pipits on the seaweed mass on the beach, giving good views. Also seen was a water pipit developing summer plumage. The pinky wash on its breast and bluey wash on its head were quite distinctive but its breast had some streaking along the sides.
I met up with my friend Amanda from work for lunch on the 24th, we had a nice lunch at Loungers in the William Yard and then a walk at Devils Point. No Mediterranean gulls were seen but a winter plumaged great crested grebe showed well close in to shore and we watched a large grey seal diving regularly in the calm water before we lost track of it as it headed up the River Tamar. Amanda had never seen a wild seal before. Her husbands naval ship headed in to the dockyard as we were at the Point, I could see him waving on the back of the boat through my binoculars as Amanda spoke to him on her mobile phone. Also seen was a male blackcap which looked very chunky as it showed well in the top of a tree.
The 26th saw me heading to Torpoint to search for the recently reported adult ring billed gull that had been seen there but I was out of luck, I missed it last year as well when I went searching for it. I did see 2 second winter Mediterranean gulls which showed very well flying over the water picking up food along with a few common gulls which despite my best efforts I could not make into a ring billed gull! Also showing well were 12 brent geese of the pale bellied variety, again the first pale-bellied types I have seen (or at least identified!)
|Brent geese of the pale bellied variety|
Also seen were some violets in flower amongst some daffodils, spring is coming!
|Violet at Torpoint|