Sunday, 5 April 2015

Finally- Spring has Arrived !

My Victoria plum tree is finally beginning to blossom and the cowslips are beginning to show at Derriford Roundabout - Spring is here!

A walk around The Barbican and Plymouth Hoe to the Royal William Yard and back on April 4th (Easter Saturday) was cool in the breeze despite the sunshine. A chiffchaff was singing on Plymouth Hoe and a second bird was briefly seen at Devils Point. 2 Peacocks flew past at Devils Point but didn't settle for me to get a good look at them. I had a brief and distant view of what I think was a Sandwich tern out in Plymouth Sound before it flew out of sight behind Drakes Island. 2 turnstones were on the rocks at West Hoe but there were only 3 mute swans on Sutton Harbour.

April 6th (Easter Sunday) and despite the cloudy sky I headed off to Wembury on the first bus of the morning, arriving at Wembury at 09:50. I was expecting it to get very busy, especially when the sunshine duly broke through the clouds. It became a beautiful morning - warm, sunny and still - and I had a fantastic walk, catching the 14:25 bus home and escaping the crowds and parking chaos as I left.

New bridge over the stream at Wembury Beach

 Violet sp.
 Speedwell sp.

A willow warbler was quietly singing in the hedgerow by the roadside on the walk down to the beach, a first for the year and a good start, and I had some very nice views as it fed on insects amongst the sloe blossom. A blackcap, another first for the year, was singing nearby but I couldn't catch a sight of it, and I heard a further 4 birds singing on my walk, all of which kept hidden out of sight too!

 Willow Warbler - rubbish photo
Willow Warbler - another rubbish photo

Along the beach were a pair of shelduck, a little egret, a grey heron, 3 male and 2 female mallard, oystercatchers, gulls and cormorants. Best of all were 7 Sandwich terns roosting on the rocks at high tide, another first for the year, before they dispersed and began diving for fish along the shoreline.

At Wembury Point my first swallow of the year flew in off the sea, a male bird with long tail streamers - I had a further 2 sightings of a single bird but I think it may have been the same individual due to the distinctive long tail streamers it was sporting. 2 sand martins also flew in off the sea but headed off straight up the valley from the beach and out of sight.

A pair of cirl buntings showed very well by the footpath with a second male heard only. Lots of chiffchaffs were heard singing too with a few seen. Male stonechats were also very vocal and busily songflighting. 3 male wheatears were seen, a single male at Wembury Point and a pair in the field above the horse stables, busily catching flies around the piles of horse poo dotted amongst the grass.

 Male Cirl Bunting
Male Cirl Bunting

Wheatears amongst the horse poo


I had a good search for the Dartford warblers at Wembury Point that I saw a few weeks ago and eventually found the pair feeding amongst the sloe blossoms. I had some great views despite their constant movement amongst the bushes before they flew off and out of sight. A female sparrowhawk flew low over the gorse bushes in hunting mode near to where I had been watching them (worrying!) before flying out to The Mewstone where it was mobbed by a raven. A pair of kestrels were also seen, a female near the church and a male along the cliffs near the nest site.

 Blurry Dartford Warbler
(Another ) Blurry Dartford Warbler

Common lizards were very showy basking in the sun, about 15 individuals seen, and peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflys flew past in the sunshine and also landed on the ground or fed on sloe blossoms giving some good views.

 Common Lizard with Beetle sp.
 Common Lizard
Common Lizard

Small Tortoiseshell

 Ruby Tiger Moth Caterpillar
2-Spot Ladybird

I patiently queued for a pasty in the cafĂ© only for the man in front of me to buy the last steak pasty - bugger! - so I had vegetable pasty which was nice but not the same. Despite this I had had a great day out and it has made me realise how much I love Wembury.

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