Monday, 9 January 2012

Slapton Ley 6th January 2012

Another days leave with David off work today too so we headed out to Slapton Ley for a walk. A fish and chips lunch in The Start Bay Inn was delicious and the birding wasn't bad either. The wind had dropped and the sun was shining so it was a very pleasent walk.

There was no sign of any divers or the velvet scoter that have been reported recently but there was a smart Slavonian grebe diving in the surf right on the beach, its red eye very striking in the bright sunlight. Also seen were razorbills dotted around the bay and all busily diving and I found a guillemot amongst them.

The Ley had very few ducks on it -  a few tufted duck and mallard with a single male pochard and a single male goldeneye. I guess the mild winter has kept wildfowl numbers down. Amongst the gulls bathing on the Ley I found a smart adult Mediterranean gull in winter plumage and also a first winter bird along with an adult lesser black backed gull and an adult kittiwake.

Cettis warblers were heard calling, at least 3 birds, but they were not seen. A chiffchaff showed well feeding in the reeds at the bridge. A pair of stonechats were seen from the path alongside the Ley.

The weather turned for the worst as we were leaving with cloudy skies and mizzle arriving. We stopped off at Aveton Gifford on the way home but it was getting dark and the tide was in so we were unable to get down the riverside road but I could just make out the juvenile Bewicks swan amongst the mute swan flock down the river along with an escaped black swan.

Back to work on the 7th January and a black redstart on the rooftops kept me amused and/or distracted during handover. Coming home after the late shift I noticed the big mass of ivy growing up the side of a building just across the road from my house had been totally cut down, a shame as it was the site of a large house sparrow roost at night. Getting home and watching some telly before bed I had a visitor in the front room, a small mouse which scurried around the skirting boards and occassionally stopped to have a quick wash before disappearing from sight. There has been a funny smell in the living room for the last few days and I suspected a mouse as we have had them in the house before. They like to set up camp by the central heating pipes under the floor boards and when the heating comes on you get a waft of mouse piss and poo as it gets heated up  - lovely!

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