Saturday 19 November 2011

Wembury 19th November 2011

David was on a long day today so I caught the bus to Wembury for a walk as the weather was quite bright and sunny. It clouded up half way through my walk but it stayed dry so it wasn't too bad.

A moth flitted past while walking along the road to the beach, not sure what it was but I got a crap photo, I think it looks like a carpet species. In the toilet block a plume moth was on the ceiling by one of the lights but one of the bulbs in one of the lights has gone, I hope they change it before next Spring as it is the light nearest the door!
Unknown moth sp

Bird wise 2 goldcrests were seen in the bushes along the road to the beach and another was seen along the cliff top by HMS Cambridge. A male blackcap was seen feeding in the bushes too before it skulked away and out of sight. Overhead birds included 2 ravens, a rook, a female kestrel and a buzzard.

Best bird was seen at Wembury Point, a Brent goose that flew overhead from the direction of Plymouth and then promptly landed on the beach for a rest! First sighting of a Brent goose I have had at Wembury.

Also seen were a record 55 mallard, 28 of which were male, 2 little egrets, 5 curlew roosting on rocks at Wembury Point with the oystercatchers, a grey wagtail, a meadow pipit with the rock pipits along the beach, a pair of stonechats in the valley to the beach and a pair in HMS Cambridge, a flyby cirl bunting that landed in the wheatfield and disappeared from view and a song thrush in the valley to the beach. Single gannets were offshore.

The tide was very high and with a strong Southerly breeze the beach at Wembury Point was covered in masses of seaweed. I decided to hunt for blue rayed limpets as per the Wild Wings and Wanderings blog, checking out all the kelp washed up amongst the other seaweeds. I had no luck but I did find what I think are limpet bite-marks on the softer, younger kelp fronds. I got covered in kelp slime and got splashed by the waves and got 2 wet feet from falling into rock pools as I tried to escape the waves but it was quite fun despite the smell.
Blue rayed limpet nibble mark?

A row of 5 blue rayed limpet nibble marks?

I met another birder and had a chat and he said that you could find blue rayed limpet shells along the beach so I had a half-hearted look amongst the shells washed up in certain places amongst the rocks but with no luck. He also tipped me off about some goose barnacles growing on a washed up wooden pallet on the beach and I did see them but unfortunately they had all died from being out of the water.
Goose barnacles - very young and unfortunately very dead

I also found a dead guillemot along the tide line mixed up with all the seaweed, it wasn't oiled and had no leg rings.
Dead guillemot

Dead guillemot

There were also lots of cuttlefish bones washed up on the beach of various shapes and sizes.

Cuttlefish bones

At the bus stop while waiting for the bus home there were quite a few honeysuckle bushes in flower.

Honeysuckle flowers
At the bus stop 2 male and a female blackbird were perched in the hawthorn bushes which were laden with haws. The 2 males had dark bills but with yellow bases and their eye rings were much darker than usual for male blackbirds. I always assumed they were young males but as per Autumnwatch on the BBC I wonder if they are Scandanavian blackbirds which have dark bills (although they were not particularly shy as they sat in the bushes a few feet away.)

Getting home I decided to have a look for the glossy ibis again from West Hoe although Devils Point may have been a better viewing point. Unfortunately I had no luck this time although I did see a grey heron being harrassed by 2 great black backed gulls and the little egrets came in as the light faded to roost in the trees on Drakes Island. There were some birders at Devils Point, one of them I think was the leader of the Plymouth RSPB Group, I don't know if they had better luck.

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