Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Quite Quiet Autumn Continues

Autumn slowly marches on into Winter and things remain fairly quiet on the bird front after the excitement of the isabelline shrike at South Huish Marsh - it has certainly been quieter than this time last year.

October 22nd and it was an early start to drive the Outlaws to Exeter airport for their flight to Malta. After a trudge around the shops in Exeter we stopped off at Shipley Bridge for a walk to the Avon Dam before heading back to Plymouth. I had hoped to see some ring ousels but there was no sight or sound of any but I did see fieldfares, redwings and blackbirds feeding on the hawthorns - the blackbirds were regularly chasing off the fieldfares but seemed to tolerate the smaller redwings and it was nice to see a few immature male blackbirds, all black including their bill and with no yellow eye ring and looking very smart. There were quiet a few goldcrests around too, busily feeding in the trees and bushes.

October 23rd and a dreaded night shift but a walk at Wembury beforehand was a nice distraction. It was again quiet with the highlight being 2 peregrines overhead and spooking all the corvids feeding in the fields above the horse stables. Along the beach 5 feral type mallards were amongst the more usual mallards -  a white bird, 3 pale and dainty females and a pale and dainty male.

3 of the Feral Type Mallards

There was also a large flock of gulls roosting on the rocks, mostly herring along with great black backed and black headed but including a nice adult lesser black backed gull.

Lesser Black Backed Gull

A great black backed gull showed well feeding on a dead fish washed up along the beach.

 Great Black Backed Gull

Juvenile Great Black Backed Gull with Herring Gull

October 26th and another walk at Wembury was a bit more interesting despite being half term holiday hell and a little busier than on the 23rd. It was grey and breezey with mizzley rain at times but mild. My third ever (faded) green brindled crescent in the toilet block started things off well but a large bumble bee was the only other insect seen. A surprise was a slow worm on the footpath despite the lack of sunshine - it was a bit moribund but perked up after warming up in my hand and it slithered off into the grass when I let it go.

 Green Brindled Crescent

Slow Worm

The 5 feral mallards were still present and spending all their time together - they must have escaped from someones garden nearby. Scanning through the mallards and I was pleased to find an immature wigeon amongst them, easily overlooked as it slept on the water despite its noticeably smaller size.

 Wigeon with Mallards



In the stubble field were 14 Canada geese and a male pheasant with a male cirl bunting very skulky in the hedgerow. Stonechats were seen all along the walk, showing very close at times.


After a pasty and coffee for lunch a feeding flock of small birds in the bushes on a slow walk up the valley from the beach to the car entertained me with views of goldcrests, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long tailed tits, at least 2 chiffchaffs and 2 very smart firecrests. I had some good views of the firecrests with one bird seen flicking its wings and raising its crown in display before I found the second bird.

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