Friday, 20 May 2016

A Walk at Wembury and a Return to Grenofen

With warm, humid and mostly sunny weather while at work during the week I had high hopes for the weekend but Saturday May 14th was cloudy and cool and breezey. I headed off to Wembury anyway and it did get sunnier as the morning progressed but it stayed cool and breezey.

I did get to see some butterflies though - red admiral, small copper, orange tip and speckled wood - and I did find a pug moth in the toilet block and a newly emerged purple bar on vegetation by the footpath.

Red Admiral

Pug Moth Sp.

Purple Bar

Crab Spider - hiding by a red campion flower to ambush prey

 Crab Spider - missing 2 front legs on the right side

Cricket Sp. Nymph

Along the beach on the incoming tide were 12 noisey and flighty and mobile whimbrel with a winter plumaged sanderling and a partial summer plumaged dunlin with the usual oystercatchers.

Over the sheltered cliffs of Heybrook Bay 20+ house martin were hawking insects low over the vegetation out of the cool breeze and a fulmar passed by heading out towards The Mewstone. A pair of cirl buntings showed well here too with a second pair seen at Wembury Point and a third male heard singing in the HMS Cambridge hedge. Whitethroats, chiffchaffs and blackcaps were seen and heard and a willow warbler was heard singing at The Point.

Male Cirl Bunting

A nice find were 2 ruby tailed wasps warming up in the sunshine on a fence post, looking sparkling in the bright light, my first sightings of one, and a few St.Marks flys were on the wing too.

Ruby Tailed Wasp - parasite of solitary bee larva

Ruby Tailed Wasp - also known as cuckoo wasp

St.Marks Fly

2 common lizards and still bonking bloody nosed beetles were also seen as the sun began to show itself more and more but it remained chilly and it was time to go home for a family get together at Dawn and Andy's house.

Bloody Nosed Beetles - bonking as usual!

Bloody Nosed Beetle Larva - the result of the above!

The next day was warmer and sunnier and I decided to head off to Grenofen Woods again to look for garden warblers but I was out of luck for the second time. I did see (and hear) 3 male blackcaps singing in the area I usually see the garden warblers - maybe the habitat is now better suited to blackcaps, maybe blackcaps are dominant to garden warblers and have usurped them, maybe garden warblers were present but silent or maybe the garden warblers just haven't returned this year? I guess I will find out more on my next visit in April/ May 2017.

I did see willow warblers busily singing away and I saw a male redstart singing in the area where the 2 males were having a bit of a dispute on my last visit - the song was more like the usual song of a redstart but with occassional harsh and quiet phrases so maybe the second male is still in the area.

Male Redstart - note the bare tree in Mid-May!

Male Redstart

A green woodpecker, 2 great spotted woodpeckers, mistle thrush and 3 marsh tits were seen and a cuckoo was heard calling for around 2 minutes on the opposite side of the valley before falling silent. A dipper flying along the river and large trout in the water under the road bridge were nice to see, the trout busily snatching flies from the waters surface.


Gorse Bug

A holly blue flitting over the trees was my first of the year but the highlight was a small pearl bordered fritillary that landed briefly near me before flying off and out of sight, my first Grenofen sighting.

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

It was time to head off home to catch up with chores but it had been a pleasent walk and actually quite warm for a change.

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