Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Waders at Wembury and Garden Warblers at Grenofen Woods - 15th and 16th May 2012

Sunny and dry weather over the weekend but still cool and quite cold overnight but I was working nights so no chance of any wildlife watching. I finished nights on Monday morning hoping the good weather would hold and as I got home just after 8am it started to rain! Never mind.

By the evening the weather had improved so I got the moth box out as the forecast was for dry weather overnight and in the morning I had..... a light brown apple moth and a shuttle shaped dart! The dart was a smaller and paler individual than the one I caught last week but I didn't bother taking a photo of it. 

Tuesday 15th was dry and sunny but cold in a strong North wind and after a visit to the travel agents at Plympton to try and sort out a holiday we headed out to Wembury for lunch and a walk. I had thought about going to Noss Mayo to try and see a woodchat shrike that has been sighted there but decided on Wembury instead. After a coffee and a pasty we headed off along the coast path, seeing a common lizard, a bloody nosed beetle, a small copper and 3 wall browns despite the cold.

The yellow flag iris was in flower by the stream in the valley to the beach along with ragged robin and cuckoo flower. A sedge warbler was heard briefly singing amongst the vegetation by the stream but I didn't see it. Whitethroats,chiffchaffs and blackcaps were seen and heard and swallows twittered overhead. A male wheatear was feeding on the rocks below the horse field with 2 females.

Male Wheatear

Walking further along the coast 2 whimbrel and a winter plumaged bar-tailed godwit were feeding along the shoreline. The beach by the sewage pipe was covered in a mass of rotting seaweed and feeding on it were 5 ringed plovers, 3 summer plumaged dunlin and a winter plumaged sanderling. Out on Wembury Point amongst the roosting oystercatchers were another winter plumaged bar-tailed godwit and 12 whimbrel along with a Sandwich tern sporting a silver ring on its right leg.

Other birds seen were a singing male cirl bunting, a male stonechat, a shelduck, 2 Canada geese, a kestrel and a female mallard being hassled by a group of randy males.

The toilet block held one moth but a new one for me, a brown silver line, which I potted up, photographed and released. I had to take a photo through the pot as it would not stay still for long. The caterpillars feed on bracken but I think the nearest clump of bracken is out towards Heybrook Bay, not far as the moth flies I suppose. Also seen was a nest of lackey moth caterpillars on a sloe bush.

Brown Silver Line

Lackey Moth caterpillars

Wednesday 16th and the weather was warmer and less windy so I caught the bus to Grenofen Woods for my annual walk. Unfortunately I didn't see or hear any wood warblers again and there was no sight or sound of any pied flycatchers either. I did however have excellent views of at least 5 singing garden warblers, the most I have seen at Grenofen Woods before and all showing very well as they usual skulk and sing from cover. Also seen were 2 songflighting tree pipits with a third heard, 2 singing male redstarts which also showed very well and with a third bird also heard, willow warbler, chiffchaff and blackcap.

4 fledgling ravens were very noisey as they called for food from the ground on the opposite side of the valley, becoming more noisey as an adult bird flew in with food. The usual birds were also seen - nuthatch (with 1 bird seen feeding a fledgling in a tree), a marsh tit, a coal tit, blue tit, great tit and long-tailed tit, buzzard, jay and a pair of great spotted woodpeckers entering a hole in a dead stump with noisey young calling inside. Along the river 3 grey wagtails were seen with an adult and a fledgling dipper.

Lots of flowers were seen including common cow-wheat, common milkwort, lousewort, speedwells and violets.

Speedwell Sp.

A fox was sunning itself along the woodland edge, the first time I have seen one here at Grenofen.


A male orange tip was the only butterfly seen on the wing and a speckled yellow and a silver ground carpet were seen briefly flying by.

And so it had been a great walk as usual and with the sighting of garden warbler my year list now stands at 160.

As  a footnote I have run out of storage space for photos on Blogger, I had not realised there was a limit. I have signed up for Google+ and seem to be able to upload photos using it, if it doesn't work I will have to pay a monthly fee to enable photos to continue to be uploaded - I should have read the small print more carefully!


  1. Try downsizing your photos - they seem to be about 700 kb. I put mine in at 800x600 pixels and try to keep them around 100 kb. Potentially enough space for c. 10,00 photos

  2. Thanks for the tip.

    I've been using Google+ and it seems to be working OK but it is a bit of a faff.