Monday 21 March 2022

Another Plym Dip

With a free day to myself on Sunday 20th March I had planned to head out for a day's birding somewhere. I considered visting the Exe, Hayle or the edge of Dartmoor but in the end I plumped for a walk around Saltram and along the River Plym.

With the solar farm development on Chelson Meadow very likely to start in July I should really make the most of any opportunities I have to go and visit there as once it has gone it's gone for good, and this partly swayed my decision of where to visit. A report of 3 Little Ringed Plover on Blaxton Meadow the evening before also had a bearing on my decision although I wasn't overly optimistic that they would still be present and so it proved to be. I often miss stuff found on the Plym at this time of year, I guess birds pass through quickly in the spring but this week I've now dipped Garganey and Little Ringed Plover, not a very successful week.

I did have another enjoyable walk though and despite the blue skies and sunshine it was quite cool in a strong breeze. I only managed to find a single Peacock Butterfly this time but there were quite a few Bumble Bees buzzing about. 

It was high tide when I arrived at Blaxton Meadow where due to the ongoing sluice blockage issues it was more of a lake than a meadow with very little uncovered ground for birds to roost on although 11 Curlew, 8 Redshank and 4 Oystercatcher were trying to along with Gulls, Shelduck and  quarrelsome Canada Geese. I've seen Little Ringed Plover on Blaxton Meadow in the spring before and they have stayed for more than one day but the lack of meadow not covered by water wasn't conducive to them hanging around this time. 

There are 5 sluices that regulate the water flow for Blaxton Meadow, only 1 is totally blocked but it seems that this is enough to cause such high water levels to be maintained on the meadow on the low tide. 

The high water level on the meadow also kept the Greenshank away with 7 of them roosting on a small piece of uncovered mud on the estuary near the gas pipe. Also along this stretch of river were 2 Common Sandpiper and in the river channel a female Goosander was busily diving. 

A Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaff were heard singing away along with Skylarks and a half-heartedly songflighting Meadow Pipit. Greenfinch were songflighting too and 2 Ravens were also calling and displaying overhead, presumably a pair. 


A total of 9 Roe Deer were seen including 2 that ran right in front of me when they were startled by a dog. 

Roe Deer

Stock Dove, Nuthatch, Ring-necked Parakeet, Coal Tit, Bullfinch and Jay were all seen in the Park while out on the river 49 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, a Mute Swan, 2 Little Egret, 2 adult Common Gull and 4 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also noted. There was no sign of the female Red-crested Pochard at the duck pond but there were 7 male and 4 female Mandarin Duck present. 

All in all another enjoyable walk despite the (expected) dipping. 

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