Friday 1 January 2016

Razorbill and Guillemot

Christmas 2015 was enjoyable with time spent with family including my sister and brother-in-law for the first Christmas in 12 years and my first ever Christmas with my 12 year old nephew - also the first Christmas with my mum for 10 years.

Boxing day and a walk along the River Plym from Chelson Meadow to The Beefeater at Marsh Mills and back was grey and windy but mild and dry if a little muddy underfoot. I forgot my binoculars but managed to see 3 greenshanks roosting on Blaxton Meadow at high tide with curlew, oystercatcher, redshank and shelduck. A jay was heard squawking and a noisy mistle thrush flew over. A nice surprise was a kingfisher calling in a tree overhanging the River between the A38 flyover and the Plympton Bridge before it flew off downstream.

A walk around Plymouth Hoe on the 27th and this time I remembered my binoculars. 11 turnstone were feeding on the gravel beach in Sutton Harbour near The China House and there were 12 mute swans including 3 juveniles. A kingfisher was on the rocks near the lock gates before noisely flying off and a smart winter plumaged adult Mediterranean gull flew across The Cattewater to Mountbatten. 3 ravens flying over The Citadel spooked all the roosting gulls and pigeons and were mobbed by carrion crows before flying off towards Devils Point.

The highlight was a guillemot resting on the sea in The Cattewater before flying off in to The Sound and thereby removing "auk species" from my year list.

December 28th and another walk around Sutton Harbour could only find 6 turnstones and there was no sign of the kingfisher today. A guillemot was resting on the sea near the lock gates but the best bird was a razorbill which gave amazingly close views as it regularly dived for fish close to the quayside and giving some fantastic underwater views. Wish I had taken my camera!

And despite my thinking I wouldn't see either guillemot or razorbill before the years end I ended up seeing both on my doorstep and taking my year list total to a pleasing 186 species.

And so to 2016 - what will it bring? Happy New Year everybody!

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