Sunday 3 January 2021

Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021

And so 2020 has finally ended and 2021 has begun with big hopes that things will slowly start to get better in this mad and mixed up world of ours.

Devon and Cornwall were moved up to Tier 3 restrictions on New Year's Eve and so my plan to visit Torbay to try and mop up a few more year ticks before the years end were unfortunately shelved and so I took a walk along the River Plym and around Saltram instead. It was a beautiful winters morning with blue skies and no breeze with a heavy frost in the below freezing temperatures and I wished I had gotten out earlier to enjoy it for longer before the day warmed up and the crowds descended.

The usual suspects were seen on my walk with the highlights being 3 Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Dipper (heard only), Grey Wagtail, 19 Wigeon (10 males), 2 Goosander (male and female), a Little Grebe, Ring-necked Parakeet, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, 3 Pheasent (1 male), Nuthatch and 7 Mandarin Duck (4 male). The best sighting though was a Green Woodpecker flying up into the trees, a nice treat after hearing them all year at Saltram but never seeing them with their yaffling sounding like mocking laughter to me.


Ring-necked Parakeet


5 Roe Deer, 4 Brown Rats and a Winter Moth were non-avian highlights and I was disappointed not to find a Snipe or a Jack Snipe but it was a nice walk anyway.

Winter Moth - on the wall of the Marsh Mills Underpass, my first moth of 2020 in the same spot and now my last moth of 2020 

A quick walk around Plymouth Hoe on my return home and a Great Northern Diver showed very well off Fisherman's Nose, a nice sighting to end the year.

And so my 2020 list ended on 206 species, not bad at all, and including 3 species heard only (Wood Warbler, Bittern and Tawny Owl). I haven't included Common Crane, Ridgway's Cackling Goose and Snow Goose on the list nor 4 sub-species seen during the year - Pale-bellied Brent Goose (with Dark-bellied Brent Geese), White Wagtail, Scandinavian Rock Pipit (a ringed bird from Norway seen at Dawlish Warren) and Siberian Chiffchaff. 

Considering the lock down year we have had I am very pleased with this total of 206 species and even more pleased that all but 12 of these species were seen in Devon and Cornwall. 

And so to 2021. I worked a long day on New Year's Day and the first and only bird of the day seen was a Herring Gull flying overhead as I looked out of the window of the staff room while eating my lunch.

With the day off on Saturday 2nd January we took a walk around The Barbican and Plymouth Hoe and I was pleased to find 2 Great Northern Divers out in Plymouth Sound in flat calm seas but they were unfortunately distant this time. A flock of around 70 Dunlin flying low over the water towards Penlee Point were a surprise sighting amongst the more usual birds.

On returning home I had a quick look around Beaumont Park and added Nuthatch, Chaffinch and Goldcrest to the year list before the rain duly arrived and with my 2021 year list now starting at 27 species, here's hoping that this year will be as bird and nature filled as the last. 

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