Monday 15 March 2021

March Doldrums

Mid-march is here and it's that weird time when winter birds depart and summer birds are yet to arrive and things are expectantly stagnant. 

Sunday 7th March and a morning walk around Plmouth Hoe before the crowds arrived was Purple Sandpiper-less but the female Long-tailed Duck was still present in The Cattewater, distant and active as usual.

Thursday 11th March and another Plymouth Hoe walk was Long-tailed Duck-less in choppy seas but the Purple Sandpiper showed well along with 6 Turnstones at Rusty Anchor.

Purple Sandpiper

Friday 12th March was showery and breezy but despite the low tide I headed out to Saltram and the River Plym for a walk. It was a very low tide but out on the water and mudflats of the Plym I found an unringed adult winter plumaged Mediterranean Gull amongst the Herring, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls present along with a notable increase in Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A Greenshank, a redhead Goosander, a Curlew and a few Redshank were also seen.

The female Red-crested Pochard was back on the duck pond along with 22 Mandarin Duck (12 males, 10 females) and assorted Feral Ducks and Moorhens.

Red-crested Pochard

Mandarin Duck

The usual birds were seen in Saltram Park  - Stock Dove, Goldcrest, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Greenfinch, Nuthatch, Kestrel, Peregrine, Ring-necked Parakeet and Pheasant the best - but the highlight was a Reed Bunting found and pointed out to me by local birders Pete and Ian and only my second Plymouth sighting of one. 

It was good to see the pair of Stonechat again and showing very well by the main footpath heading down from the house to the beach. The female was absent during the very cold spell we had recently so it was good to see her back with the male, presuming it is indeed the same female. 

Stonechat - male

Stonechat - female

Sunday 14th March was Mothers Day and with it being a dry and mostly sunny day I decided to avoid the crowds and potter about the house doing chores with just a short trip out to Sainsburys to break the day up.  However on returning home from shopping I checked out the sightings pages to see a report of a Sandwich Tern in The Cattewater and so after quickly eating my lunch I headed down to Duttons Cafe on The Hoe for a look. Needless to say there was no sign of it but the female Long-tailed Duck was still present, distant and mobile and rarely at the surface for very long as usual.

Spring is beginning to arrive! 

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