And so a trip to Perranporth on Wednesday 2nd September was a little uncomfortable and I felt sore and groggy from painkillers and antibiotics but at least the sun eventually appeared although it remained cool in a strong northerly breeze. It was a very low tide and we were able to see the remains of the wreck of the La Seine in the surf, only the second time I have seen them.
3 Sandwich terns were roosting along the beach where 3 sanderlings were busily feeding. Offshore gannets and fulmars were passing by and a kestrel flew around the cliffs making quite a noise. A few trout were seen in the stream but the water level was high and the flow fast from all the recent rain and they were mostly hard to see. A painted lady was a nice surprise, I have seen very few of them this year, but best of all was a lesser weaver fish along the beach, the first I have seen. It was lying prone on the sand above the water line but on returning it to the water it promptly buried itself in the sand where it was very well camoflagued.
Lesser Weaver Fish, Perranporth
Lesser Weaver - showing its poisonous spines
Sandwich Terns, Perranporth
Friday 4th and it was still cool in the northerly breeze and quite overcast and so we had a walk along the coast from Thurlestone to Hope Cove and back. Unfortunately there was some digging work going on at South Huish Marsh so lots of disturbance but I did manage to find a snipe and 5+ dunlin lurking in the vegetation. A further 4 dunlin were seen flying east along the beach where a juvenile Mediterranean gull was feeding in the surf with black headed gulls. 2 juvenile wheatears were also seen, 1 along the beach and 1 in a mown field along the coast path. A hummingbird hawkmoth was a nice surprise feeding on red valerian flowers with small whites and small tortoiseshells. Again there were no yellow wagtails or clouded yellows to be seen.
Juvenile Wheatear, Thurlestone Beach
Sunday 6th and I headed off on the train to Topsham for a look at Bowling Green Marsh. It was sunny and increasingly warm, not what had originally been forecasted, and it was a very pleasant day out. Arriving at the hide at just after 11am and it was virtually empty which was a bit of a surprise. I settled down and scanned around as the waders arrived on the approaching high tide, seeing lapwing, redshank, curlew, dunlin, black tailed godwit, an avocet, a ruff, a spotted redshank and a greenshank. 4 pintail and 13 wigeon with teal and mallard were a taste of autumn but there was no sign of the 16 yellow wagtails seen the previous day although I heard a brief and distant call of a bird flying over.
The highlight was a juvenile osprey which was picked up quite low down as it circled over the River Clyst. Surprisingly it didn't cause any panic amongst the roosting birds on the Marsh and it slowly gained height before disappearing off towards the north east.
A look from the viewing platform and 2 distant Sandwich terns were roosting on a buoy and a post downriver. A smaller tern was roosting on another post further downriver, it was very dark looking and presumably a black tern but the heat haze and distance precluded a definite ID (both a black- and little tern were reported on the Exe that day).
A walk around Goosemoor to Darts Farm was busy with cyclists but from the viewing screens I had some nice views of 27+ greenshanks with black tailed godwits, dunlin, redshank and 2 very nice ruff.
Dunlin, Black tailed Godwit, Shelduck, Redshank, Greenshank and Ruff - Goosemoor
Greenshank, Ruff and Shelduck - Goosemoor
Greenshank and Ruff, Goosemoor
A brief stop at Exminster Marsh on the way home to look for yellow wagtails drew a blank, I seem to keep missing them this autumn but at least I had a flight view of one back in the spring.
I have also had the moth trap out in the back yard with a nice mix of moths including a large ranunculus (with a bald head!), one of my favourite moths and a sign that autumn is definitely here.
Square Spot Rustic, Back Yard Moth Trap
Marbled Beauty, Back Yard Moth Trap
Large Ranunculus, Back Yard Moth Trap