Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A Week off Work Part Two 6th - 8th May 2011

Friday 6th and today I headed off to Berry Head with my mate Mavis for a look at the guillemots and kittiwakes on the sea-cliffs there. It turned out to be a warm and sunny day and we had good views of the guillemots and kittiwakes from a hide overlooking the cliffs.

Berry Head - view from the hide overlooking the sea cliffs
Other birds of note were a singing sedge warbler which kept hidden in a hawthorn bush, a fly over house martin, a pair of cirl buntings carrying beakfuls of food into a large stand of gorse bushes and a female wheatear. Whitethroats were seen and heard everywhere and a few gannets were seen flying West offshore. Offshore a harbour porpoise showed its fin twice briefly and distantly.

We then headed off to Labrador Bay, the new RSPB reserve north of Babbacombe, and an hour later we were there after a magical mystery tour of the Torbay area, the roads, lack of sign-posts and one-way systems being a complete nightmare! Labarador Bay was beautiful with stunning views from the car park looking down the grassy slopes to the sea. We saw more cirl buntings and a male sparrowhawk along with a pair of kestrels and more whitethroats.

Saturday 7th and the weather was still good so we headed off to Wembury for a walk and a coffee and pasty. Moths in the toilet block included a buff ermine, a lychnis and a sandy carpet (a new moth for me). Bird wise it was quiet but whimbrels were seen and heard on the rocks as the tide went out but were mobile and difficult to count, 4 being the most seen together at any one time. 2 Sandwich terns headed West offshore and whitethroats were seen and heard everywhere. Also seen were a superb green hairstreak and a froghopper species, Cercopis vulnerata.

Green Hairstreak

Froghopper - Cercopis vulnerata

Sunday 8th and the last day of the week off work and we headed off for a walk around Stoke Point. Lunch in The Ship Inn at Noss Mayo was lovely as usual, I had roast pork and sticky toffee pudding with a glass of wine and it was delicious. Unfortunately no Dartford warblers were seen or heard on the walk, hopefully they have survived the cold winter as I don't always see or hear them on our walks there. 2 Ravens flew overhead and 3 male yellowhammers were seen and heard. Cirl buntings were heard but not seen and as usual whitethroats were seen and heard everywhere. A painted lady butterfly was seen along with a small copper, red admirals and wall browns. Speckled yellow moths were seen flitting over the bluebells on the clifftops.

Painted Lady
Bluebells on the cliffs at the mouth of the River Yealm
I decided to get the old moth box out again that night and the next morning I had a beautiful Lime Hawkmoth in the trap, a new moth for me and a nice end to my week off work.

Lime Hawkmoth

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