Thursday, 19 March 2015

Spring Surprise at Wembury and a Trip to Heathrow Airport

A sunny morning on March 10th saw me heading off to Wembury for a walk. It was a beautiful day, calm and still and becoming quite warm in the sunshine.

The warm weather meant I saw my first 2 oil beetles of the year but there was no sign of any common lizards. A small tortoiseshell was on the wing but there were no moths in the toilet block.

Oil Beetle

I was pleased to finally see my first cirl buntings of the year, a brief view of a female and excellent views of a singing male throwing his head back and belting it out perched in the top of a tree. A second male was heard but not seen.

Male Cirl Bunting

The water pipit with a tail showed very well feeding on the seaweed mass on the beach with a meadow pipit and rock pipits.

Water Pipit

The usual birds were also seen but the biggest surprise were a pair of Dartford warblers at Wembury Point, the first I have seen at Wembury for a few years now but to be honest I don't particularly spend much time looking for them here. They were very active and mobile amongst the gorse bushes with the male very much in attendance of the female and occassionally bursting into songflight.

Dartford Warbler

The next day and it was cold and grey again on the drive up to Heathrow Airport. I saw 3 red kites, 2 along the M3 and 1 along the A303 in Somerset, my first sighting in Somerset and potentially a wild bird. Buzzards were everywhere and I also saw a few kestrels and sparrowhawks. I also saw what I think was a juvenile goshawk flying away over fields in Somerset - at first I thought it was a buzzard due to its size and colouring but as we drove nearer its flight manner and build was very goshawk like and then it was gone. 2 roe deer and 3 red legged partridges were also seen in the fields and along the roadside were the usual dead badgers, foxes and pheasents squashed on the road.

Staying the night at a hotel at Heathrow Airport and as dusk fell I watched the world go by from the bedroom window and managed to see at least 25 ring necked parakeets flying in to roost in the trees, heading in in small groups, and while watching them 2 Egyptian geese flew by too.


  1. I saw the male a few weeks ago, Stuart. Really good you found a pair. Near the pines?

  2. Hi Graham. I first saw them along the cliff path heading towards Heybrook Bay but they moved off towards the pines and I last saw them from the tarmac road by the missing gate, very nice to see them and interesting to see the male songflighting.