Saturday, 23 May 2015

Another Walk at Wembury

Saturday May 23rd and my only day off over the Bank Holiday weekend. With good weather forecast I wasn't sure what to do with my day. I had considered a trip to Lands End to look for the male Sardinian warbler present there, having not seen one here in the UK before, but I didn't fancy the 6 hours of travelling that it would entail and I have seen many Sardinian warblers on my European travels. I also considered a trip to Exminster Marsh or Bowling Green Marsh but again didn't fancy travelling far and so I headed off to Wembury instead.

It was warm and sunny but clouded up at around 12 o'clock. It also wasn't too busy considering it was a Bank Holiday weekend and the start of half term holiday hell and I had a very pleasant walk with some good sightings (and a Chunk pasty for lunch at the end of it too!).

Bird wise it was fairly quiet as expected. 2 whimbrels were roosting on the rocks at Wembury Point with 26 oystercatchers and the shelduck was again roosting on the large sewage mass on the beach near the sewage pipe. There were now 14 Canada geese in the wheat field, nibbling away at the foliage which will not please the farmer, and 2 male cirl buntings were seen with another 2 males heard only.

Male Cirl Bunting

There was no sight or sound of the sedge warbler behind the boatyard but I did find both a male and female Dartford warbler in the usual place at Wembury Point - the male was seen song flighting and carrying food and at one point intimidated and chased off a male whitethroat.

A blackcap and a chiffchaff were heard singing with a female blackcap and another singing chiffchaff seen and there were male whitethroats everywhere. Also seen were pair of pheasant, a female kestrel, swallows and house martin.

Offshore 2 Manx shearwater were seen distantly flying East and a female red breasted merganser was a surprise, presumably the female I saw a few weeks ago. Even more of a surprise was a bottle nosed dolphin - it was first seen off Wembury Point showing at the surface only briefly before powering off through the water and showing well as it headed towards a fast speedboat, presumably to bow ride. Unfortunately the speedboat driver had seen the dolphin and stopped to have a look at it at which point the dolphin became unobtrusive again. Another passing speedboat attracted its attention and off it sped but again it soon lost interest when the boat owner stopped to watch it. It eventually just disappeared from sight and I couldn't refind it. Even more surprising though was refinding it again a little later just off the main beach, a distant view from the road overlooking the beach near the bus stop and again it was moving very unobtrusively through the water.

The warm weather meant a lot of insect activity. Wall, painted lady, large white, green veined white, common blue, speckled wood and orange tip were seen along with many speckled yellows flitting over the hillside at Wembury Point. A sharp-angled peacock was released from the toilet block and a very smart alder moth was seen by the footpath, a new moth for me. Lackey moth nests were very noticeable in the bushes with the caterpillars being at varying stages of development and therefore different sizes. Even better were 3 glow worm larva, the first I have found at Wembury for a few years now.

 Sharp Angled Peacock
 Alder Moth
 Lackey Moth Caterpillars
Glow Worm Larva

With an American golden plover at Exminster Marsh and gull billed tern at Bowling Green Marsh being reported today (both UK ticks for me) I guess I should have gone to the River Exe instead but with my wildlife sightings today I'm very glad I went to Wembury!

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