Friday 30 December 2016

Cattle Egrets, Saltram Park

Christmas 2016 is just happening around me, I really, really, really am not feeling it this year and after working a long day on Christmas Day and again on Boxing Day I was tired and withdrawn as we headed off for a walk on December 27th to Stoke Point with Julie and Matt.

The walk was as lovely as always despite the grey skies and cold wind and after lunch at The Ship Inn at Noss Mayo I was feeling a little better. A few birds were seen on the walk, the highlight being around 10 yellowhammers (8+ males and 2+ females) which really brightened up the day. Also seen were a raven, a buzzard being mobbed by herring gulls and carrion crows, a lone adult gannet offshore, stonechats, meadow pipits and linnets.

 Male Yellowhammer, Stoke Point

National Trust Signage Boo-Boo, Noss Mayo

December 29th and with news of 2 cattle egrets being seen in Saltram Park in what appears to be a mini-influx of them into the South West again (the last one was in 2008) I decided to go and have a look for them. The Park was busy with Christmas holidaymakers but I managed to see a nice selection of birds with the 2 cattle egrets seen very well feeding amongst cattle with black headed gulls, pied wagtails, redwings, song thrush, blackbirds and starlings - very active and mobile around the field, sometimes coming quite close and sometimes being a bit skittish and nervy.

 Cattle Egret, Saltram

 Cattle Egret

 Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Also seen were 2 male and 3 female wigeon on the Plym on what was a very low water low tide along with a greenshank and 50+ dunlins on the mudflats. 12 grey herons was a good count, maybe attracted to feed in the very shallow water, and 5 little egrets were also seen.

In the woods above The Folly I found a very nice firecrest which gave some very good views despite being constantly on the move and it was joined by a second bird which it vigorously chased off. A mistle thrush, 2 nuthatches and a coo-ing stock dove were also noted along with a buzzard.

Firecrest, Saltram

I had a quick look around Beaumont Park again on December 30th and I had some nice views of a yellow browed warbler feeding in the tree tops in the north of the park but it was very mobile and difficult to keep track of and only called a few times. I also saw a nuthatch and heard a coal tit but there was no sign of any long tailed tits.

Snowdrops were in flower, a little early in what has been a mild December again, but the weather at present is on the chillier side and looks to be getting chillier as the New Year arrives - hopefully the yellow browed warbler(s) will continue to frequent the park and provide a nice start to my 2017 year list.

Snowdrops, Beaumont Park, December 30th 2016

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