Friday 19 March 2021

Yet Another Holiday-less Holiday!

Monday 15th March and yet again another period of annual leave from work begins during a Lock Down. However there seems to be light appearing at the end of what has been a very long and very dark tunnel as I have now had both my Pfizer COVID jabs, my weekly COVID swabs since October last year continue to be negative and the Nations road map out of Lock Down appears to be on track. 

Monday was a breezy but dry day with sunny spells and so I decided to do my usual River Plym and Saltram walk. The tide was ebbing and out on the mudflats were 5 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank, at least 10 Curlew, an Oystercatcher and Redshanks along with Common Gulls and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls amongst the roosting Gull flock. A pair of Goosander were also busily diving for fish near the rowing club.

Little Egret

The park held the usual stuff but the highlight was a Green Woodpecker seen flying into the top of a tree, it was so nice to actual see one instead of just hearing the usual mocking yaffling.

Green Woodpecker

Stock Dove, Goldcrest, Song Thrush, Skylark, Buzzard and Ring-necked Parakeets were also noted along with a Meadow Pipit in the cow field and the pair of Stonechat in the same spot as last week. 

There was no sign of the Red-crested Pochard on the duck pond but there were 7 pairs of Mandarin Duck and an unpaired male present. A very smart looking male Pheasant was feeding around the pond side on the seed and bread being put down by passers-by along with a very confiding Dunnock.



5 Roe Deer were resting under a tree in the cow fields, the first time I have seen them here, a nice male with antlers and 4 females.

Roe Deer

There were flowers beginning to show all around the park with Sloe Blossom, Alexanders and Wood Anemones all noted along with the usual Daffodils, Primroses and Violets.

Sloe Blossom


Wood Anemone

White Poplar Catkins

Tuesday 16th March and we decided to head out to Stoke Point for a walk, something we only did once last year. It was a dry day with increasing cloud cover but it was as fantastic as always with the usual stunning views and interesting wildlife.

Chiffchaff and Blackcap were both heard singing away and a brief and flitty Peacock butterfly was a nice sight. Two Green Woodpeckers were heard with one seen in flight and a Marsh Tit showed well in the usual woodland area near the village of Noss Mayo. A male Kestrel, 2 Raven, Stonechats, Cirl Buntings, Yellowhammers, a Gannet, a Red-legged Partridge and Pheasants were all seen as well.


Cirl Bunting


There was as expected no sign of the recent Chough even though I checked out all the corvids I saw,  possibly it's still around in the area although with 3 patrolling Peregrines seen on the walk it may have moved on or may have ended up as a tasty meal.


A really enjoyable day out, unfortunately no lunch again in The Ship Inn for us but sandwiches, crisps and a glass of wine were just as tasty sat on a bench in the community orchard of Noss Mayo. And I felt so much happier that evening watching TV on the sofa after having done something normal for a change.

Wednesday 17th March was forecasted to be a warm and sunny day and so I headed out to the outskirts of Plymouth again to have another look for Goshawks. It was cooler and breezier and cloudier than expected but I had a successful walk and it was far less muddy than my previous visit. 

I had a brief and distant view of a Goshawk flying over the trees as I negotiated the country lanes and muddy footpaths towards my raised vantage point overlooking the valley and shortly after setting up my telescope at my watch point a pair of Goshawk circled overhead before drifting off with the noticeably smaller male having a half hearted skirmish with a Buzzard soaring nearby. 

Over the next couple of hours as I scanned over the treetops of the valley I had some distant scope views of 1 or 2 displaying Goshawks along with Buzzards, Ravens and Sparrowhawks. 2 Peregrines were also noted. 

Stock Doves, a Common Sandpiper, 4 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Marsh Tit, Pheasants, Red-legged Partridge and Skylarks were also noted on the walk along with 2 Peacock butterflies. 

While watching a Red-legged Partridge feeding in a field as I neared the end of my walk the calls of Rooks overhead made me look up and amongst the crows and panicked Woodpigeon flying around I picked up a juvenile Goshawk flying through them, a distinctive looking bird with buff toned underparts and looking very Honey Buzzard-ish with an elongated looking head. It all to soon drifted off and out of sight but a very nice end to my walk. 

Red-legged Partridge

Thursday 18th March and a sunny but cool day saw me heading off to Wembury to meet Mavis for a walk. It wasn't too busy with people despite the good weather and the footpath was much less muddy than of late and we had an enjoyable walk.

The Bar-tailed Godwit was still present feeding on a sandy stretch of the beach with Oystercatchers and a 1st Winter/Summer Mediterranean Gull. At least 2 Curlew were out on the rocks with 2 Little Egret and a pair of Mallard were tucked down amongst the seaweed having a snooze.

Mediterranean Gull

Offshore a few Gannet were seen and on The Mewstone Fulmar were resting on the cliffs with Cormorant and Shag resting along the shoreline.

Stonechat, Cirl Bunting, Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Pheasant and 2 Long-tailed Tit were seen along the footpath along with 2 Canada Geese resting in the stubble field. A Chiffchaff was heard singing and 2 Buzzards were seen soaring overhead.

It was good to see my first Common Lizard of the year along with an Oil Beetle although not so nice to see 2 more Oil Beetles squashed on the footpath.

Common Lizard

Oil Beetle

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