Friday, 6 January 2017

Water Pipit at Wembury

Thursday 5th January and I headed off to Wembury on the bus for the first time in weeks on a mostly cloudy but still day. The footpath was a bit of a mud bath as expected but there were few people around and so disturbance was minimal.

A male bullfinch and a pair of stonechat along the valley to the beach started things off well, the male stonechat having a large and bright white rump in flight.

Male Stonechat

Off the main beach I picked out a few adult gannets offshore all heading east but there were no fulmars around The Mewstone or around the cliffs below the church. A nice find were 3 Mediterranean gulls feeding in the stubble field, a first winter bird and 2 winter plumaged adults.

First Winter and Adult Winter Mediterranean Gull

The tide was very high and the beach was busy with birds. 4 turnstones feeding on the sea weed mass were a nice find, they really are quite uncommon at Wembury now, and a curlew and oystercatchers were also seen.

Two of the Turnstones

The seaweed mass was stretched along a large part of the beach and was busy with lots of pipits feeding on it but they were flighty and mobile and it was hard going to try and find the reported water pipit. Eventually as I went through the many rock pipits and the few meadow pipits present I found the water pipit and I managed to get some very good views. It was feeding close to the sewage pipe with wings drooped and tail cocked and would not tolerate any rock pipits that came near to it, chasing them off before it eventually flew off along the beach.

Water Pipit - with wings drooped and tail cocked

Water Pipit

Water Pipit

Water Pipit

Water Pipit

Also along the beach were good numbers of pied wagtails, 4 linnets, robins, a male chaffinch, blackbirds, wrens and dunnocks, and a nice find was a chiffchaff flitting about in the reeds along the base of the cliff. A nice group of mallards were roosting and preening on the rocks too - 20 males and 15 females along with a pure white bird, a male ornamental type and 3 female ornamental types.

Heading back to the bus stop and I disturbed 4 cirl buntings feeding in the stubble field, they flew off into the hedgerow and dived into cover but I did get a good view of a male and a female before they disappeared amongst the branches.

So not a bad day out and with the year list now on 66.

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