Monday, 18 April 2016

A Trickle of Migrants

A strange Spring again this year - cool with a chilly northerly wind seeming to slow things down somewhat. The Victoria plum tree in the backyard is only just flowering, some 3 weeks later than has been usual and I have seen very few moths or butterflies so far.

April 7th and with rain forecasted for the afternoon I headed off on the first bus of the day to Wembury for a quick walk. Chiffchaffs were very much in evidence, flitting around in the undergrowth and singing, and a blackcap was heard singing too. The only other migrant was a whimbrel which flew along the beach, briefly resting on the rocks before flying off - unfortunately it was resolutely silent. Yet more bonking bloody nosed beetles were seen along with a few common lizards and I did get a brief view of a dark butterfly flying past, probably a peacock.



Common Lizard

A trip to Bristol on April 10th to spend a few days at my sisters to celebrate my mums 70th birthday and I had hopes for some bird and butterfly sightings but it was still cool and still quiet. A green woodpecker, 2 tawny owls and chiffchaffs were heard in the woods by my sisters house and I saw a male kestrel, jays, bluebells and wood anenomes on a walk with the dog.

A trip to the SS Great Britain on April 11th and a pair of grey wagtails gave some nice views as they held territory along the quayside. It was good to see lesser black backed gulls close up as well, they are as tame in Bristol as herring gulls are in Plymouth.

Grey Wagtail

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Mums birthday on April 12th and we visited Bath for the day, spending time in the Roman baths before having afternoon tea in The Pump Rooms which was very nice. Lesser black backed gulls were again very confiding and gave some good views as they watched out for any food scraps dropped by tourists.

Heading home on April 13th and I saw 2 swallows flying over at the Haynes motor museum at Sparkford and other than a roe deer in fields near Exeter Airport and a white butterfly by the roadside somewhere in Somerset I didn't see anything else of note.

April 17th and I headed off to Wembury again, hoping for some signs of spring. 2 swallows around the horse stables started things nicely and then I heard a willow warbler quietly singing in the nearby sloe bushes but I couldn't catch a sight of it. Chiffchaffs were again noticeable and vocal and a blackcap was again heard singing. At Wembury Point 2 male whitethroats were songflighting and having a sing off together which was good to see and hear and 2 Sandwich terns flew along the shoreline heading west but there was no sign of any whimbrels.

No butterflies, no moths but more common lizards and bonking bloody nosed beetles were seen along with a raven, a pair of cirl buntings, 2 song thrush, 2 shelduck and 4 little egrets.

 Spring seems to be running a little late this year.

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