Monday, 24 October 2016

French Dragonflys

October 14th and after our visit to the Avon Dam it was off to France for the weekend on the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff with friends Julie and Matt. A fairly quiet crossing with relatively calm seas but I didn't sleep well and on arriving in Roscoff it was grey and overcast. We did the usual things despite the eventual arrival of rain but as we headed back to Roscoff in the afternoon for our overnight stay the clouds cleared and the sun came out.

We had our late lunch picnic on the benches overlooking the beach at the botanical gardens near Roscoff and I managed to see 3 common darters and a southern hawker buzzing around along with speckled wood and small white while 2 brent geese floated past on the water.

Southern Hawker

 Common Darter

 Common Darters

 Common Darter

 Common Darter

After another poor nights sleep at the hotel in Roscoff due to other noisy guests it was back to Plymouth on the morning ferry on Sunday 16th. It was bright and clear but with slightly choppy seas in the breeze and I wandered around on the upper deck to see what I could see, with the first hour of the trip providing the best sightings as usual.

As we left Roscoff harbour 4 brent geese flew along the shore while 2 Sandwich terns and a winter plumaged Mediterranean gull flew around amongst the black headed, herring and great black backed gulls. Heading off into the English Channel and gannets started to make an appearance and I picked up 5 Balearic shearwaters heading west in a loose group, unfortunately a little distant and disappearing from view all too quickly. A flock of around 30 waders were picked up heading south and as they drew nearer they revealed themselves to be knot. A fulmar and a razorbill were the only other birds of note before the sightings dried up except for the continual presence of yet more gannets.

I had some distant views of 4 auks flying low over the waves, 1 at least could have been a puffin but I wasn't absolutely sure. Unfortunately there were no sightings of any cetaceans or great skuas. There were also no fishing boats out of Plymouth to attract sea birds as we neared the Eddystone Lighthouse and so the ferry journey came to an uneventful end but it had been a good trip and the anticipation of sightings had been as exciting as usual.

A busy week at work but on Saturday 22nd October we had a quick walk along the coast path at Wembury in a strong easterly wind which seemed to have blown all bird life away with just 2 meadow pipits, a pair of stonechats, a male kestrel, 3 little egrets and a curlew with oystercatchers along the beach and gannets offshore being the best of it but 2 red admirals and 2 small coppers were a nice surprise.

Small Copper, Wembury

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