Wednesday 10 January 2018

River Plym Walks

Sunday 7th January and a sunny and bright morning saw me heading out to Marsh Mills for a walk along the River Plym and around Saltram Park despite the frost and bitingly cold north easterly wind.

Along the upper reaches of the Plym a grey wagtail, a kingfisher, a common sandpiper and 3+ little grebes were seen while on Blaxton Meadow on the high tide there were 3 greenshank, 2 common gull, 2 lesser black backed gulls and 13 wigeon amongst the usual mallard, redshank, curlew, dunlin, shelduck, herring gulls, black headed gulls and great black backed gulls.

Saltram Park was fairly quiet with a displaying stock dove, a jay, a chiffchaff, a mistle thrush, a redwing, a fieldfare (my first sighting of one at Saltram) and 2 goldcrest all seen but I failed to find any firecrest and a yaffling green woodpecker remained hidden from sight.

I had another look for the lesser whitethroat at West Hoe Park on the way home but had no luck again and there was no sign of any great northern divers offshore.

Tuesday 9th January and a grey and dull morning saw us heading out to Marsh Mills for another walk along the Plym and around Saltram Park in still but cold conditions.

Blaxton Meadow held the usual birds again on the high tide but this time I could only find a single greenshank and the wigeon flock had grown by 1 to 14. The highlight was a black tailed godwit roosting amongst the curlew, an infrequent sight on the River Plym for me. Scanning down river and 5 goosander (1 male, 4 redheads) and 5 red breasted merganser (3 male, 2 redheads) were found out on the water, the male mergansers busily displaying to the redheads between dives and the goosanders frequently diving to avoid the attentions of marauding herring gulls.

 Blaxton Meadow - high tide roost

Violet, Saltram

Redwings were more noticeable in the Park as they flew between trees with blackbirds and a song thrush and while enjoying lunch in the cafe (courtesy of a gift card given to me by my sister for my birthday last year) we watched the antics of the displaying mandarin ducks on the pond with at least 10 males and 6 females being present along with moorhens and mallards.

Mandarins, Saltram

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