Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Water Pipit at Wembury

With the Christmas frenzy almost reaching its climax I decided to head off to Wembury  on the bus for a bit of fresh air and relaxation. It was nice to see a bit of blue sky and sunshine in what has been a very grey, very wet, very windy and very warm December. The footpath was a muddy quagmire as I expected but I managed to navigate it successfully without incident (for a change!).

Birdwise it was quiet in the blustery conditions - a goldcrest in the bushes, a gannet offshore, a kestrel and a buzzard overhead and a curlew and grey heron along the beach with oystercatchers and mallards were the best of it until I got to the large seaweed mass near the sewage pipe and found a smart water pipit feeding amongst the rock- and meadow pipits. It was quite aggressive towards nearby rock pipits but was mostly tolerant towards nearby meadow pipits. It also had a full tail unlike one of the birds that was present here last winter.

 Water Pipit

Water Pipit

Male Pheasant

And so the year is nearly over again and I doubt I will get out birding now until after New Year due to work, Christmas and family things. But it has been quite a good year, I haven't chased after birds (although I did dip on Hudsonian whimbrel and serin) and I've seen 4 British lifers - Squacco heron, White winged black tern, Isabelline shrike and Caspian gull. My year list is on 185 but that does include barnacle goose, feral birds at Slimbridge, and an auk species, distant views at Prawle Point. I don't feel happy at ticking the barnacle geese but bizarrely I'm happy to tick Egyptian goose and Mandarin duck! And I had hoped to see both razorbill and guillemot at some point this year but bizarrely have missed out on both other than the distant flight views I had of an auk species at Prawle.

It has however been an excellent year for butterflies with fantastic butterfly days at Upton Towans, Cerne Abbas, Ashclyst Forest and Aish Tor - great views of some beautiful insects and utterly heavenly experiences.

And so to 2016 - what will it bring? I'm planning some more butterfly days to try and see some more new species and I really must get organised and go on an offshore seabird pelagic at some point in the autumn.

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