Thursday 15 April 2021

A Birdtrack Bird Off

I've recently started to use Birdtrack for recording my bird sightings and it has inspired me to try and see 100 species of birds in 2021 at Saltram and the River Plym. I've also decided to try and do the same for Wembury and so the Birdtrack Bird Off begins.

Looking back through my bird diaries from the past 30+ years I've noticed how much more often I have visited Wembury compared to the River Plym, a situation that has been totally reversed in the last year due to the COVID lockdowns. Interestingly my Wembury list is only on 62 for 2021 compared to 89 for the River Plym although I have visited Wembury only 7 times this year compared to 17 for the River Plym. However maybe Saltram and the River Plym will prove to be a more bird rich area than Wembury, something I would not have expected.

Monday 12th April was cool and breezy with sunny spells and heavy showers and so I decided to visit Saltram and the River Plym. It proved to be a quiet day bird wise with the highlight being a Willow Warbler quietly and briefly singing in a hedgerow before disappearing into cover, River Plym bird species 89 for the year.

Chiffchaff and Blackcap were singing away and 6 Swallows were gamely swooping for flies around the cows in the cow field in the chilly and windy conditions.

Along the Plym a Common Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank and a winter plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit were seen with 2 Curlew noted on Blaxton Meadow on the dropping tide.

Wednesday 14th April and I visited Wembury for a walk. It was sunny and cool but with a gentle breeze although it had  clouded over by lunchtime. The tide was dropping and out on the rocks were a Canada Geese, a Little Egret, Oystercatchers, 2 Curlew and 4 flighty Whimbrel which regularly gave their lovely whistling call.



2 male Whitethroat were tentatively singing and songflighting from the brambles at Wembury Point and 2 Swallows flew in off the sea and headed inland together. A Willow Warbler was flitting about in the hedgerow by the sewage farm and Chiffchaff and Blackcap were singing away. Cirl Buntings, Stonechats and Linnets were all vocal and showy along the coast path. 

Cirl Bunting - male

Cirl Bunting - female

A Red Admiral, a Painted Lady, a Small White and a Holly Blue were also seen along with Speckled Wood and Peacock.

Speckled Wood

A newly emerged Devils Coach Horse and 3 Oil Beetles (1 male) were rescued off the footpath and placed in vegetation nearby, all were likely to have been trodden on by the large number of walkers along the path. 

Devils Coach Horse

A Roe Deer was a surprise sighting, easily overlooked as it sat on the grass amongst the trees in the small copse above the sewage farm and only noticed when it moved its head to groom itself. 

Roe Deer

I have been trying lately to identify the Bees I see while out and about, I haven't been overly successful but I did manage to ID Gooden's Nomad Bee, Yellow-legged Mining Bee and Ashy Mining Bee on checking my guide book when I arrived back home.

Gooden's Nomad Bee

Gooden's Nomad Bee

Gooden's Nomad Bee

Ashy Mining Bee

Yellow-legged Mining Bee 

Yellow-legged Mining Bee

A displaying male Sparrowhawk, a singing Goldcrest and 2 Collared Dove which appeared to fly in off the sea before heading up the valley to the village were all Wembury firsts for the year and have brought my 2021 list up to 62.

And so 89 plays 62 - so far. And I'm quite enjoying staying local - for the time being. 

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