Sunday 13th and we went for a walk at Wembury. It was sunny and cool and absolutely packed out, the busiest I have seen it so far this year. Walking along the coast to The Point and things quietened down but it was also quiet birdwise with the highlight being a female type black redstart feeding amongst the boulders on the beach below the clifftop footpath, constantly flitting about but showing its beautiful red tail in the strong sunlight. A few sloe flowers were out and there were quite a few bloody nosed beetles mating in the grass again. 2 common lizards were basking in the sun and the toilet block held my first moth of the year although its ID has me a bit puzzled - I thought it was a male dotted border but it has distinctive spots on its forewing which dotted border doesn't have - maybe a faded early moth? I also found a caterpillar on the footpath which I think is a cream spot tiger moth.
Faded Male Early Moth?
Cream Spot Tiger Caterpillar?
At the Pool the best birds were 2 pairs of goldeneye and 2 male tufted ducks but there was no sign of the regular overwintering male lesser scaup or wintering female smew.
We drove back to Siblyback Reservoir near Liskeard and walked around the waters edge, a pleasent easy walk of around 2 miles. I found a group of tufted duck close to the shore near the bird hide and amongst them was the male lesser scaup, last seen by me in 2013. The birds appeared nervous, probably due to nearby fishermen wading into the water to fly fish and by the time I had walked further along the footpath to get a better view of the birds in better light they had flown off. I refound the lesser scaup amongst the tufted ducks further along the walk but it was much more distant and difficult to view.
Male Lesser Scaup with Female Tufted Duck
Male Lesser Scaup
There was no sign of the female smew but I did find 2 coot, 2 Canada geese, little grebes, teal and mallard and amongst the bathing herring and black headed gulls were a few lesser black backs.
Tuesday 15th March and it was off to Stoke Point for a walk and it was much better underfoot than our last wet and muddy walk back in February. There were lots of stonechats along the walk including quite a few singing males but I couldn't find any Dartford warblers. A singing chiffchaff and a singing cirl bunting were seen along with a small tortoiseshell, my first butterfly of the year. 2 snipe flew over and landed in a boggy area on the cliffside and a raven flew overhead in wide circles as it slowly gained height before drifting off. 8 red legged partridge were disturbed by the footpath, all flying off into the cliffside vegetation in pairs but even better was a very smart male wheatear feeding amongst the gorse, my first proper summer migrant bird of the year.
Peregrine - zoomed and cropped shot