Saturday 17 September 2022

A Beautiful Local Autumn Day Out

Wednesday 14th September began with grey skies and rain but with a forecast of clearing skies later I decided to head out to Wembury and then The Plym for a walk. I had considered doing my Scilly Day trip or visiting the Hayle Estuary, and with Great and Cory's Shearwaters seen from The Scillonian ferry and Little Stints and a Red-necked Phalarope seen at Hayle maybe I should have done so, but I ended up having an amazing day out anyway. 

The rain was easing by the time I arrived at Wembury at around 09:45 and with a very high tide I headed straight out to The Point to check out the wader roost. I was hoping for something different but it was the usual stuff with a Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 23 Oystercatcher and a Turnstone seen along with 32 Mediterranean Gulls and 7 Little Egret. None of the Mediterranean Gulls were ringed and consisted of 7 1st winters and 25 adults hidden amongst the Herring and Black-headed Gulls also present. 

More interestingly there were at least 14 Wheatear along the beach, the most I have seen at Wembury for some time if ever, mostly juveniles but with at least 2 males present and all very mobile and flighty. 


I had a good look around The Pines at The Point and amongst the Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps present were a very skulky Garden Warbler, a Goldcrest, a juvenile Green Woodpecker, a female/juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, a pair of Cirl Buntings and a Whitethroat. 


4 Sand Martin were seen heading east, 1 with 3 Swallow and 3 with 2 Swallow and a further 2 Whitethroat were seen in the Valley to the Beach. 

At least 3 Clouded Yellow were seen flitting about as the sun appeared from behind the clouds and there were good numbers of Red Admiral feeding on the ivy flowers along with various hoverflies and bees including quite a few Ivy Bees.

Ivy Bee

Ivy Bee

Ivy Bee

Cinnamon Bug

Common Lizard

The highlight though were 2 Convolvulus Hawk-Moths resting on fence posts and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth resting on a bramble bush. 

Convolvulus Hawk-moth

Convolvulus Hawk-moth

Convolvulus Hawk-moth

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

While waiting for the bus back to Plymouth I scanned the gardens nearby with my binoculars and found 2 Spotted Flycatchers feeding from telegraph wires, distant but very distinctive and confirmed with my telescope. 

I got off the bus at Laira Bridge and began my River Plym walk and by this time it was sunny and quite warm. The tide was low so there was little to see along the river but 2 Grey Heron, 12 Oystercatcher and a Bar-tailed Godwit were of note. 

A look around Chelson Meadow gave some great views of at least 8 Whinchat along with 2 male Stonechat and a distant Wheatear and I was pleased to see my first Small Copper of the year for Saltram along with 2 Clouded Yellow. 



Common Darter

Buff Tip Caterpillars

I staked out the Ospreys favourite feeding tree where I met local birder Bob and we chatted away while waiting for the Osprey to hopefully appear. It eventually did arrive carrying a tiny silver fish and being harassed by 2 Buzzard and 2 Carrion Crow and while it did briefly settle in the tree it was soon forced back into the air by one of the Buzzards before dropping its fish and flying back towards the estuary. The fish was scavenged by one of the Buzzards which flew off being chased by the other Buzzard and with time marching on I decided to head back to Laira Bridge to catch the bus back home. 

As I neared Laira Bridge the Gulls out on the mudflats all silently took to the air and as I scanned around I found the Osprey heading downriver being harassed by 2 Carrion Crows before it disappeared from view. It soon returned, circling around overhead without any Carrion Crows in tow this time before it drifted off upriver, a nice end to the walk. 



I decided to put the moth box out in the backyard that night, it was chillier than of late but the next morning amongst a small collection of moths was my first ever Palpita vitrealis, my second backyard Vestal, a Diamond-back Moth and a Rusty Dot Pearl along with 2 Large Ranunculus. 

Palpita vitrealis


Diamond-back Moth

Large Ranunculus - just gorgeous! 

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