Thursday, 10 January 2013

Wembury walk and another Lesser Yank

I headed off to Wembury on the bus on the 5th January and it was grey,cool and misty. I had heard that the footpath along the coast had experienced more collapses following yet more torrential rain and wanted to see the damage for myself. The path had indeed collapsed in 2 more places -  by the horse field and a large slip near the sewage pipe. Also where the route dips down along the coast the footpath has been quite badly eroded away too. The stream in the valley to the main beach has also experienced a lot of erosion and it will be interesting to see what effect if any it may have on wildlife come the Spring.

 Coast path slip by the Horse field
 Large coast path slip near the Sewage Pipe
Erosion along the stream in the Valley to the Beach

The path was very wet and muddy and I was filthy by the time I caught the bus home but it was quite a productive walk. Best bird was the water pipit seen feeding amongst the rocks at Wembury Point at high tide, it was watched alongside rock pipits and was much more tolerant of them than when I saw it before Christmas, presumably due to the very small area of beach available at high tide. Oystercatchers were roosting at The Point with 3 curlew and only 3 turnstone - the number of  Wintering turnstones at Wembury have really dropped since last Winter, a worrying trend, and also mirrored in the total lack of purple sandpipers on Plymouth Hoe for the last few Winters.

Signs of Spring were a male sparrowhawk circling high overhead and fulmars prospecting the cliffs past the Church and around The Mewstone. Three-cornered leek was also in flower.

Cirl buntings were feeding in the stubble field but were quite nervous and flighty, I managed to count 7 males and 6 females but there were more than this number present. A female kestrel showed well perched in a tree near the path and 2 buzzards were mobbed by carrion crows. A razorbill showed well close to the shore but spent very little time on the surface between dives. 2 chiffchaffs were flycatching around the landslip by the sewage pipe.

 Male and female Cirl Buntings
Male Cirl Bunting
Female Kestrel

A grey seal was seen close to shore and was very interested in a dog walking along the beach, keeping an eye on it and following it along the beach before disappearing from sight under the waves at Wembury Point.

Grey Seal

Monday 7th January and after dropping off the Outlaws at Newquay airport for their flight to Gatwick we headed home via Bodmin Moor. I had a twenty minute birding opportunity at Dozmary Pool and soon found the male Lesser Scaup diving at the back of the Pool with tufted duck, pochard and 2 female goldeneye. The light was appalling and it was around 4pm but with my telescope I had reasonable views although it spent very little time on the surface between dives. The white flanks of the male tufted ducks were very noticeable despite the poor light but the lesser scaups flanks appeared quite dull grey and it also seemed slightly smaller and more elegant looking. It is presumably the returning bird that I first saw in 2010 and I have yet to actual get a decent view of it! Maybe next year if the bird returns again!

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