Wednesday 22 March 2023


I'm not sure what I've done or how I did it but I've done a number on my back and it's bloody painful. I remember getting a twinge when I sat down in the chair in the coffee shop last Thursday but I then walked around Plymouth Hoe with no problem. However that evening my back became more and more painful and I was very sore when I went to bed. The next morning it felt much better so I headed off to work, a decision I regretted when I arrived to start my shift as it was very painful again and by 1pm I had to head home and I spent the rest of the day propped up on the settee with loads of pillows.

I had planned a big birding day out on Saturday 18th March, an early bus out to Wembury with my telescope followed by a Plym walk in the afternoon but there was no way that this was going to happen now as I was in agony when I woke up that morning. Typically it was as forecasted, a beautiful day with warm and sunny weather and with a continuing arrival of Wheatears being reported on the sightings pages and by 11am I was crawling the walls and so I dosed myself up with painkillers, packed light (no scope) and caught a bus to Laira Bridge for a gentle walk along The Ride and around Saltram.

I took things very slowly and despite having to stop regularly for a sit down I managed to walk all the way to Marsh Mills to catch the bus home, guzzling more painkillers along the way. I had a very enjoyable walk although I often muttered expletives when twinges of intense pain came in sharp waves. 

It was worth it though as I saw my first Wheatears of the year, 3 very flitty males and a much more confiding female and they were an absolute joy to see.



A male Blackcap, a summer plumaged Great Crested Grebe, 2 Chiffchaff and 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls hinted at Spring too and there were Bees buzzing around everywhere but surprisingly I didn't see any butterflies.

Winter was represented by the lingering Grey Plover, 2 Greenshank, 2 male and 3 female Goosander, a lone female Wigeon, 100+ Dunlin and 3 Common Gulls (an adult and 2 2nd calendar year birds) but these sightings were all had with a plethora of spring time bird singing in the background. 


A Kingfisher was seen again in the Wet Wood which had much higher water levels than earlier in the year and it dived into the water before flying off and out of sight with what appeared to be a small fish in its bill. 

Other sightings of note were 3 female Stonechat, 4 Roe Deer, singing Skylarks and a yaffling Green Woodpecker heard only while on the duck pond there were 2 pairs of Mandarin Duck, 21 Moorhen and the seemingly now resident female Red-crested Pochard.

I was sore when I arrived back home but by the evening my back felt much, much better although when I got out of bed the next morning it was very painful again and I had to call in sick for work. It was just as painful on Monday morning and so I had to call in sick again but I did manage a gentle walk around Plymouth Hoe in the rain where a Chiffchaff was flitting about in a pine tree by the Lions Den and 8 Turnstone were feeding together on the exposed beach on Sutton Harbour by Miller and Carter.

Tuesday 21st March was sunny but cool and breezy and with an influx of Alpine Swifts into the UK occurring including 4 (!)  being seen around Teignmouth in Devon I had considered going to have a look for them but with my back still giving me jip I had to pass and so I headed out to Wembury for a gentle walk instead. Even this was a bit ambitious with the hills and uneven and muddy paths creating havoc with my back and I was very sore when I arrived back home but I had a pleasant walk anyway.

A female Bullfinch and a male Linnet were Wembury year firsts and at least 4 Chiffchaffs were seen. A Meadow Pipit was with the Rock Pipits along the beach along with the Scandinavian Rock Pipit but even better was a summer plumaged Water Pipit which flew off never to be seen again after just a very brief view. 

The Cettis Warbler called twice but from deep cover in the valley to the beach which has been cleared of vegetation in places and the footpath has also been improved with hard core. The wheatfield has also been ploughed and sadly the grassy margin of the field alongside the footpath has also been ploughed over too, presumably the EU grants to keep areas untouched for wildlife have not been continued by the shit show of our current UK government. 

I kept an eye out for Oil Beetles and Common Lizards but with no luck but I did see 2 Small White butterflies which was quite a surprise. 

Small White

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