Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Wembury, 14th March 2017

A quick walk along the coastpath at Wembury on another grey and claggy day before a last minute night shift and I was hoping to find my first wheatear of the year after quite a few recent reports of birds along the Devon and Cornwall coast. No luck with wheatear but there were certainly signs of spring in the air.

Sloe Blossom

A chiffchaff singing away in trees below the church was a good start with a second bird heard on the other side of the valley. Another bird briefly sang at Wembury Point and a very green looking individual was flitting about in the hedgerow by the HMS Cambridge footpath.

The toilet block actually had a moth in it which I caught and released outside - a Ni Moth, a rare migrant moth from North Africa and a new moth for me. I had originally ID'd it as an early moth but was beginning to have some doubts and then I received an e-mail from Matt Knott who pointed me in the right ID direction with ID then confirmed by Barry Henwood from the Devon Moth Group.

Ni Moth

The pair of Canada geese were again in the sheep field, the larger male keeping guard as the smaller female nibbled on the fresh grass shoots. Along the beach 6 little egrets, oystercatchers and a pair of mallard were seen on the outgoing tide. The usual pied wagtails and meadow- and rock pipits were feeding on the rotting seaweed along the shoreline and included a female grey wagtail and a male white wagtail but I couldn't find the water pipit or any littoralis rock pipits amongst them. A dead adult gannet on the beach was a sad sight although it looked like it had been somewhat staged.

Dead Gannet

Cirl buntings were very obvious along the walk, the birds were very flighty and mobile but I reckon there were at least 5 male and 3 female birds present.

Male Cirl Bunting

There was no sign again of any Dartford warblers on a brief search of the usual spot and a couple of passing birders also commented on having not seen any for a while too, hopefully they are still around and have relocated to another area at the Point.

A nice walk was finished off with a common lizard trying to warm up on the wall by the bus stop in the weak sunshine trying to break through the clouds, my first of the year.

Common Lizard with Fly


  1. Hi Stuart - think your moth is Ni Moth - pretty rare in Devon, and the UK for that matter, so worth getting it checked. Note the Silver Y-like markings on the forewing. All the best, Matt.

    1. Hi Matt, thanks for the ID tip, I was already beginning to question my initial ID. Have e-mailed photo to Barry Henwood from Devon Moth Group for review. Thanks again, Stuart