3 ravens flew over croaking and a singing male cirl bunting showed very well. Offshore a few gannets were seen along with 3 adult summer plumaged Mediterranean gulls flying East. Stonechats and whitethroats were flitting about amongst the gorse clad cliffs and David found a small slow worm by the footpath, a little bit worse for wear but my first of the year.
Tuesday 23rd July and we headed off to Badgers Holt for a cream tea and a walk down the River Dart. A large, orange butterfly whizzed past in the hot sunshine before disappearing out of sight, presumably a fritillary species (high brown, dark green or silver washed?). I did later see a comma but I am sure the other butterfly was not of this species and was a fritillary of some sort. Ringlet, meadow brown, small white, a peacock and large skipper were also seen along with golden ringed dragonfly and beautiful demoiselle. Birdwise the best sighting were 2 male yellowhammers feeding on same grain on the path near Badgers Holt tea rooms. A healthy antidote to the cream tea we ate was provided by lots of bilberries we snaffled on our walk along the riverside.
Wednesday 24th and I headed off to Wembury for a walk. It was cooler than of late and misty but still warm and humid as the heatwave continues.With a sense of deja vu I found a (faded) meal moth in the toilet block and 2 six spot burnets were on the wing. Butterflies were again much in evidence with 3 male common blue, 2 small copper, a red admiral, 2 peacock, gatekeeper, meadow brown, large white, small white, a wall brown, a painted lady, a large skipper and ringlets on the wing.
Male Common Blue
Small Copper - form caeruleopunctata with a row of blue spots on the hindwings
Birdwise a redshank and a dunlin were heard but not seen on the rocks at Wembury Point as the tide went out with 2 dunlins later seen flying West offshore. 2 little egret and a whimbrel were seen amongst the rocks along with oystercatcher, curlew and a female mallard with 8 quite well grown ducklings. In the mist offshore I picked up a group of 10 Manx shearwater flying West low over the water which was a nice surprise. Another highlight were 3 noisy fledgling kestrels perched in the pine trees at The Point, presumably from the nearby cliff nest I found a few weeks ago. Not so keen on the kestrels was a noisy juvenile green woodpecker which was chased by one of them before reaching the safety of a tree. Plenty of whitethroats were seen in small family groups and a male cirl bunting was heard but not seen. After a pasty and coffee at The Old Mill Cafe it was time to go home, back to work tomorrow unfortunately, but it has been an excellent week of wildlife watching.