Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Grey Seals at Looe and a Glossy Ibis at Bude

I wasn't expecting much in the way of wildlife sightings with Mum and nephew Jack staying for a few days but while out and about I managed to find some interesting stuff with a few surprises too.

Saturday 6th August and we headed down to Looe by train, a bargain at £3.85 return each as we were travelling on a Group 4 ticket. I have never travelled along the branch line from Liskeard to Looe before and it was an interesting and scenic trip with a common sandpiper, a grey wagtail and lots of little egrets seen along the river. There was also lots of Himalayan balsam growing by the trackside, very pretty but very invasive and detrimental to native flora.

Himalayan Balsam

Looe was very busy with lots of tourists despite the cloud and mist (but calm and warm conditions). We decided to take a 45 minute boat trip around St.Georges Island and I was intrigued by the Skipper stating that he would feed the seals on the trip. The boat was glass bottomed and we saw a few compass jellyfish and various fish (pollack and wrasse according to the Skipper) as we travelled over the seaweed beds around the island but the highlight was indeed the seals which came to the boat to take mackerel offered to them, raising themselves up out of the water to eat the fish.

Grey Seal

Grey Seal and Turnstone

Gret Seal taking mackerel

Grey Seal

Grey Seal

I enjoyed a bit of rock pooling with Jack on the main beach and we found the usual stuff - prawns, shanny and anemones - but a squashed and dead oak eggar on the footpath was a surprise.


Oak Eggar

Sunday 7th and we headed off to Bude for the day for Jack to indulge in a bit of body boarding. The sea was choppy with some worrying rip tides and currents but Jack (and David) had a great time in the water. I was more interested in the Manx shearwaters flying north offshore towards Lundy in the strong winds and I am 99% sure I picked out a Corys shearwater too, closer to shore than the Manxies and noticeably larger with paler and browner looking upperwings which were angled back as it sheared across the waves but brief views only as it banked out of the waves before dipping down again and being lost from sight.

Water levels at Maer Lake were still low but despite scanning around I couldn't find the reported wood sandpiper but the reported glossy ibis was showing well if a little distantly along with a black tailed godwit, curlews and oystercatchers.

Glossy Ibis, Maer Lake

The toilet blocks held 2 single dotted waves along with a small fan footed wave and a single meadow brown was seen along Maer Lane.

Small Fan Footed Wave

Monday 8th August and we headed off to Wembury for the day. A sanderling along the main beach was a surprise as it fed along the shoreline at high tide totally unperturbed by nearby holiday makers. It was surprisingly easy to overlook or lose track of as it fed unconcernedly down to a few metres with its cryptically patterned plumage affording it some camoflague amongst the pebbles and sea weed.

Sanderling on Wembury Beach





A bit more rock pooling turned up more prawns and more shanny along with cushion starfish, corkwing wrasse, hermit crabs, a compass jellyfish, a chiton species and snakelocks anemones.

Cushion Starfish

Snakelocks Anenome

Corkwing Wrasse

Compass Jellyfish

Chiton Sp.

Tuesday 9th August and it was off to Dartmoor for the day before Mum and Jack headed off back to Bristol. Along the River Dart beautiful demoiselles, brown trout and silver washed fritillaries were all seen while a quietly singing willow warbler was heard. The fritillaries were very smart looking but very active and difficult to photograph but I managed to snap 1 worn individual and I also got a shot of a very worn high brown fritillary too.

Beautiful Demoiselle (male)

Brown Trout

High Brown Fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillary

After a cream tea at Badgers Holt which was actually very nice we had a quick walk at nearby Sharp Tor where a male wheatear showed well before it was time for Mum and Jack to head off home, it having been a nice but tiring visit with some interesting sightings along the way.


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