Saturday, 9 April 2011

A single swallow does a Spring make!

Have been feeling rough for the last week now, have struggled at times with working as I have not been sleeping well and I feel quite crappy - sore throat, nausea, abdominal pains, cough, bunged up nose, headaches, etc. Checked my throat on Thursday with a pen torch and found ulcers all on the back of my throat, no wonder it hurts and also explains the nasty taste in my mouth.

Anyway today I caught the bus out to Wembury and spent a pleasent 4 hours walking along the coast in brilliant sunshine but unfortunately quite a stiff breeze. I was hoping to refind the elusive hoopoe at Heybrook Bay, seen again last weekend but no luck today. I think my only chance of seeing one in the UK is to find my own which will just be down to luck as they seem very elusive and difficult to refind after being reported. I tried searching the gardens of West Hill where it was seen last week but viewing from the road was difficult with very restricted views and I was informed by a "concerned" resident that it was a private road with no public access. It was only a half-hearted look as I feel so crap.

I did see a house martin and 2 swallows, firsts for the year and very nice to see too. The swallows were beautiful in the strong sun and twittered away at times, Spring is definently here although my mate Mavis was watching a swallow nearly 2 weeks ago down in Cornwall.

Also seen were 2 Sandwich terns fishing offshore with an adult gannet and fulmars, 2 shelduck, 4 Canada geese, a female kestrel, 2 buzzards and a pair of curlew, the size difference between the 2 as they flew past being quite noticeable, presumably a pair although curlews can apparently be quite marked in size. Chiffchaffs, blackcaps and song thrushes seemed to be singing everywhere and I had a good view of 2 male blackcaps singing and chasing each other in a tree while a female looked interestingly at them.

Cuckoo Flower or Ladys Smock

Wild Garlic or Jack by the Hedge

Small Tortoishell
On the non-birding front I saw my first speckled woods and holly blues of the year, the holly blues being very blue in the strong light. One oil beetle was seen along with peacock and small tortoishell butterflies and a small common lizard was sunning itself on a wooden fence. Cuckoo flower, thrift and wild garlic were in flower and violets seemed to be everywhere. A ruby tiger moth caterpillar was also seen.

I also saw a moth flying along a hedgerow at Heybrook Bay, it was quite quite tatty looking and I think it is a common carpet.
Common Carpet?

Had a pasty from the cafe but with my poorly throat it didn't taste quite right and by the time I left to catch the bus home the beach was packed solid and the National Trust car park was totally full.

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