I did have a walk around Saltram and the River Plym with my friend Sue from work but I didn't see much except a good count of 5 greenshanks roosting on Blaxton Meadow at high tide and a white Muscovy duck by the road bridge at Marsh Mills. There was no sign of the spotted sandpiper though.
Another walk on Boxing Day with our friend Julie was more productive and with a nice bottle of wine half way through the walk at The Beefeater at Marsh Mills. Still no sign of the spotted sandpiper but I did see a common sandpiper. Also seen were a greenshank, an adult common and an adult lesser black backed gull amongst the gulls roosting on the mudflats, 7 little grebes and a nice male and female red breasted merganser feeding in the river near The Folly at low tide. Also seen was an immature male tufted duck which was a nice find although there had been a report of an immature male scaup on the Plym a few days previously - it was definently a tuftie and not a scaup that I saw which was a shame as scaup would be a tick for my Plymouth list.
And so 2011 has come to an end. A total of 170 species of birds were seen which is less than the 190 last year and 178 the year before but over the 150 target I set myself. Only 3 new birds for my British list were seen - Iberian chiffchaff at Rame in May, buff breasted sandpiper at Hayle in September and short eared owl at Exminster in December. Other bird highlights were lesser scaup, glossy ibis and spotted sandpiper with 3 new birds for my Devon list - white fronted goose, Bewicks swan and short eared owl. My Wembury list also advanced by 3 - great northern diver, great spotted woodpecker and brent goose.
Mammal highlights were the fox cubs at Tyntesfield in May and grey seal on The Barbican in November. Best mammals though were cetaceans - bottle nosed dolphins at Wembury in February, harbour porpoise at Berry Head in May, common dolphins at Bude in July, common and striped dolphins at Gibraltar in October and common dolphins on the ferry from Roscoff to Plymouth in October.
Mothing was a lot of fun and more interesting as my knowledge and experience grows. The highlight was a vestal at Wembury in October but the year was full of new and some quite stunning moths. Butterflying was also good but no sightings of clouded yellows this year. A marbled white at Wembury was the only sighting of this species but a tick for Wembury. Green hairstreak was also a tick for Wembury with some excellent views.
Autumn ladies tresses at Blaxton Meadow were the plant highlight although I failed to find bee orchids at this site. Autumn squill at Stoke Point was also a good find.
Insect highlights were a green tiger beetle at Wembury and sexton beetles at Bude and Wembury.
And so to 2012 - what will it bring? Hopefully more birds for my British list !