Thursday, 31 March 2016

Easter Monday Wash Out

March 28th and a very early Easter Monday found me with the day off to myself for the first time in years and with a cool, breezey and showery day after Storm Katie blew threw overnight causing damage and chaos. I am not a fan of Easter anyway and when it is in March it is a bit too early for migrants and the weather is usually crap.

I headed off for a walk around Plymouth Hoe in the morning, hoping to find something blown into The Sound following the overnight storm but there was nothing much around other than the usual gulls and shags. A raven flew over cronking and tumbling, 6 Canada geese were on Drakes Island and 2 male mallard were sleeping on a jetty in Sutton Harbour but there was no sign of Sandwich terns which had been reported the previous day - not surprising as in the spring they often pass through quickly whereas in the autumn they often hang around for a while.

I then headed up to Marsh Mills on the River Plym for a look around on the outgoing tide, hoping to see the immature glaucous gull again as it is still being reported in the area but there was no sign of it amongst the herring, black headed, lesser black backed and greater black backed gulls. A greenshank and 2 female red breasted mergansers were seen along with the usual redshank, curlew, oystercatcher, shelduck and mallard.

I had some close views of a little egret feeding at the outflow from Blaxton Meadow, it caught and ate a small flat fish before finding a large crab which it shook for a while to dislodge some of its legs before swallowing it whole, looking a little uncomfortable for some time after. I have never seen an egret eating such a large crab before and also on my visit to Laira Bridge last Thursday I had watched a little egret eating lugworms it was pulling out of the mud, another feeding behaviour I haven't noted before.

Little Egret

Little Egret

Two mistle thrush with a song thrush were seen feeding together in Saltram Park and a skylark was singing over the Tip. I lifted up a large piece of windblown felt on a grassy area and was surprised to find a vole looking at me, it was more surprised than I was and remained stock still for around 10 seconds before scuttling off. Two toads were much more chilled and just sat there watching me before I covered them back up.


Heading home and it began to chuck it down and I got absolutely drenched in the heavy rain and cold, strong wind but at least I had got out and seen stuff despite the Easter crowds.

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