Thursday 4 January 2018

A New Years Day Lesser Whitethroat, Plymouth

We were both off work for the years end and so New years Eve passed, New Years Day duly arrived and 2018 began. New Years Day was bright but breezy and so we had a quick walk around Plymouth Hoe along with most of the rest of Plymouth but it was good to be out and about and not to be rained upon.

A great northern diver was a nice find busily diving off the Sutton Harbour lock gates and showing very well in the bright sunshine. Onwards around The Hoe and a lone turnstone flew along the shore and goldfinches twittered in the bare trees. At West Hoe Park I met up with local birder Pete who was looking for the wintering lesser whitethroat being reported and after 5 minutes he found it feeding in a tamarisk bush on the cliff face. I managed some good but brief views of it as it was constantly on the move and often obscured by vegetation before it flew up into a pine tree and disappeared from view - a presumed Eastern race bird and a strange sight on January 1st in Plymouth!

Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

January 3rd saw me heading up to West Hoe Park again for another look for the lesser whitethroat but it was sunny and showery and vey windy and I failed to find it. A skulking song thrush and a male blackcap were nice finds though and just offshore a great northern diver was feeding quite close in to the shore and a kingfisher dashed past heading towards The Barbican.

A great northern diver was again off the harbour lock gates and another 3 were fishing together in The Cattewater off Turnchapel so at least 5 birds present in The Sound following the strong overnight winds.

Great Northern Diver

I had a quick look around Beaumont Park on the way home but despite finding a mixed tit flock feeding in the trees I couldn't find the wintering firecrest with them. However the next day while enjoying a hot chocolate at Costa Coffee the male black redstart I first saw before Christmas was again feeding in the palm trees opposite, a splash of energy and colour on a grey and windy day.

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