Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Plymouth Birding

I worked a night shift on New Years Eve and my plan for New Years Day was to have a quick walk around Plymouth Hoe in the afternoon after a few hours sleep. However the weather was wet and windy when I woke up so I stayed in and vegged in front of the telly instead.

January 2nd and the weather forecast was for more rain later in the day and so I headed off in the morning for a walk. It was very breezey and with the overnight rain I hoped for something interesting having been blown in with the bad weather.

Starting at Sutton Harbour and I quickly refound the little grebe from a few days ago but there was no sign of the razorbill. 12 mute swans were still present including the 3 juveniles which are becoming increasingly whiter as time goes by. The highlight was a cormorant trying to swallow a massive fish it had caught - it eventually managed to get it down but looked most uncomfortable as it rested on a pontoon.

 Cormorant with a large fish (?Grey Mullet)

Cormorant with fish  - it did eventually manage to swallow it!

No sign of kingfisher or guillemot at the lock gates but off The Elphinstone I found a smart great northern diver which drifted off into The Cattewater as it frequently dived, occassionally being spooked by an over enthusiastic black headed gull buzzing it overhead. Another great northern diver was off Tinside Pool with another one found off Rusty Anchor. An adult gannet circling over The Cattewater before heading off back in to The Sound was a surprise, I've never seen one so close to shore in Plymouth before.

 Great Northern Diver in The Cattewater

Great Northern Diver off Rusty Anchor

I had a quick search of the wasteground at Rusty Anchor and found a very smart female type black redstart which was very active and mobile and eventually flew off in to some gardens. I even managed to get a good photo despite it not staying still for more than a few seconds.

Black Redstart at Rusty Anchor

The weather by this point was starting to deteriorate and so it was time to head off home but I was pleased with the birds I had seen although I did feel sorry for the cormorant which must have had the most horrendous indigestion from swallowing such a huge fish!

 Great Black Backed Gull with dead juvenile Shag

Juvenile Herring Gull

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