Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Glossy Ibis at Aveton Gifford and Ring-Necked Duck at Burrator Reservoir, Devon

My original plan of an early start on the 17th January to catch the train to Hayle and then the bus to Marazion in Cornwall went out of the window when I saw the report of a glossy ibis at Aveton Gifford in Devon on the Devon Bird Sightings page. I am tired and arsey after the excesses of Christmas so a bus trip to Aveton Gifford seemed much more acceptable as it meant I could have a lie-in!

Waiting for the bus on Royal Parade in Plymouth I watched a pair of peregrines on the Guildhall Tower with one bird busily plucking some unfortunate bird and showering white feathers everywhere.

Arriving at Aveton Gifford and the glossy ibis was showing very well on South Efford Marsh - very exotic looking for Devon in January and reminding me of Gonzo from The Muppets. In certain lights it had a beautiful metallic, glossy sheen to its upperwings.

 Gonzo the Glossy Ibis
 Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

I had a wet and muddy walk to the new hide overlooking the Marsh which has been built since my last visit in August. I scanned around for the reported water pipits but without any luck but I did get good views of 3 snipe, meadow pipits, a resplendent kingfisher flying past looking gorgeous in the strong sunlight, 3+ chiffchaffs, a pair of bullfinch and a goldcrest, while along the River Avon I saw a little grebe, a grey wagtail and a common sandpiper, and as I waited for the bus home a green sandpiper showed very well close to the road.

On the way home I got off the bus at Laira Bridge in Plymouth and walked to Blaxton Meadow and back. Jack snipe have again been reported in the area so I had a search for them in suitable habitat but with no luck. A search for treecreeper also drew a blank but there were plenty of goldcrest around and eventually I found a nice firecrest in a mixed flock of blue tit, great tit and goldcrest - I had some good views but it didn't stay still for a second and I soon lost sight of it amongst the vegetation. Also seen were 3 greenshank roosting on Blaxton Meadow at high tide and 9 wigeon roosting on the River, unusual for the Plym.

Sunday 19th and a dry and sunny day for a change so we went for a walk around Burrator Reservoir. Unfortunately the world and his dog had the same idea and it was packed with walkers, cyclists, dogs, joggers and children but at least the walk was relatively dry and relatively mud free. The water was flat clam as there was no wind and I eventually caught up with the long staying female ring-necked duck, diving regularly and skulking in the overhanging vegetation between dives on the opposite side of the Reservoir to me, distant and brief and obscured views but still nice to catch up with it at last. Also on the water were 3 redhead and a male goosander, a male teal and a little grebe but there was no sign of any mandarin ducks. At the North car park bird photographers had put down seed to attract birds and I had good views of blue, great and coal tits and nuthatch before heading home, experiencing total traffic chaos on the way back to the main road.

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