Monday 27 November 2023
Thursday 23 November 2023
After more wet and windy weather overnight I headed out to the River Plym on Saturday 18th November for a quick look about on the morning high tide before heading down to Truro for the night to celebrate our friend Julie's birthday. It was grey and claggy but dry and it wasn't too windy either and Blaxton Meadow was back to being a lake again.
The usual birds were present on the Meadow despite the high water level and included a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull, 2 adult Common Gull, 40 Wigeon, a female Teal, 26 Curlew and 10 Greenshank. There were 2 redhead Goosander present too, unusual here but obviously making the most of the high water levels while on the river nearby a male Goosander and 3 redheads were also present.
Tuesday 21st November was all blue sky and sunshine and with repairs to the living room fireplace and redecorating completed we headed out to Burrator Reservoir for a walk. It was very quiet on the bird front with a flyover Siskin, an unseen singing Mistle Thrush, the resident white farmyard Goose and a Cormorant the highlights. There was a lot of felling of the coniferous trees going on while we were there and the road was a complete mudbath in places, the recent weather has not been ideal for logging work. There was no sight or sound of any Crossbills on our walk but I hope that some of the pine trees which are covered in cones are left standing for them.
I headed out to Wembury on Wednesday 22nd November, it was dry and calm for a change but mostly overcast and I had a very enjoyable walk despite the very muddy footpath!
The Water Pipit was still present along the beach near the sewage pipe, it was very active and mobile and regularly chasing off any other Pipits that came too close.
A Reed Bunting was in amongst the Cirl Buntings perched up in the sewage farm hedge although it was chasing off any that came too close before it had had enough and flew off east.
Offshore a Great Northern Diver flew west and 3 Common Scoters (a male and 2 female) were also seen flying west before they landed on the sea. There were feeding flocks of Gulls further out but an adult Kittiwake passed by closer to shore as it headed west too.
A flock of 21 Turnstone were feeding along the beach with 2 Curlew, 3 Little Egrets, 2 pairs of Mallard and Oystercatchers also present.
A light passage of Woodpigeon passed overhead heading west, around 300 birds in total in small, irregular flocks and with them were 3 Stock Doves. Also of note were a Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, a male Bullfinch, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Green Woodpecker.
Tuesday 14 November 2023
Monday 6th November saw us heading off in the car for a few days away in Suffolk to attend the funeral of my lovely Godfather Uncle Kevin. It was unfortunately to be a birding-less visit but on the car journey there and back it was nice to see good numbers of Kestrels, Buzzards and Red Kites and a few Sparrowhawks too in what were very pleasant weather conditions for a change (and the journey there and back went very smoothly too, only 6 hours each way and with no delays although the usual bad driving was still very much on display).
Saturday 11th November was sunny and calm too, a change from the mostly wet and windy weather we have had of late and so I decided to head out to the River Plym for a walk to make the most of it. It had clouded over by the time I arrived off the bus at Marsh Mills but it remained dry and I was just glad to be out birding for the first time in a week.
Things started off well with 3 Dipper seen at Long Bridge, they were very vocal as they sang, called, displayed and chased each other back and forth along the river before they all flew off upstream. Downstream a pair of Common Sandpiper were much more aminable as they rested and preened together along the waters edge and 6 Little Grebe were diving for fish nearby. Later a Great Crested Grebe was seen out on the river as the tide came in, no doubt pushed upriver by the water skiers, paddle boarders and rowers present.
It was low tide when I began my walk and Blaxton Meadow was no longer a lake, no birds were present as I passed by but on my return walk the tide was heading in and birds were coming in to roost with 21 Curlew, 11 Oystercatcher, 8 Greenshank, 8 Wigeon and a Snipe all seen amongst the usual Redshank and Dunlin.
It was quiet around the Park with the usual birds seen and included 2 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff (1 seen, 1 heard), 4 Jay, a pair of Stonechat, a Raven, 2 Song Thrush and around 20 Redwing. Both Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker were heard too but kept well hidden as did a noisy Buzzard.
There were at least 20 Moorhen on the duck pond but again no sign of any Mandarin nor the Red Crested Pochard.
It was also quiet on Chelson Meadow with Skylark, Meadow Pipit, a male Stonechat, a Red Admiral and a pair of Roe Deer the highlights but the best sighting was of 3 Snipe and 2 Jack Snipe flying high overhead, they came over from the direction of Laira and then flew towards Saltram House before being lost from view. The smaller size of the Jack Snipe was very noticeable and at first I thought they were Dunlin until they came close enough to properly ID.
I headed out to Wembury again on Monday 13th November after another wet and windy night as Storm Debi rattled through, it was still very windy when I arrived off the 7am bus although the rain had cleared through and the footpaths were as expected a complete mud bath but I still enjoyed my walk.
I had hoped for some sea watching excitement but all I saw offshore in the choppy seas were 4 Gannet (3 adults and 1 immature bird), a Fulmar, a few Shag and around 10 adult Kittiwakes along with the usual Gulls.
The usual Gulls were also loafing about along the beach and some Black-headed Gulls were also feeding in the surf along with 2 adult and 2 2nd winter Mediterranean Gulls. Only 3 Little Egret were present this time after the recent high of 12 birds and the usual Oystercatchers were present with a Curlew and a Grey Heron.
Most small birds were keeping hunkered down in the strong wind but the usual Stonechat, Cirl Buntings, Chaffinch, Robins and Goldfinch were seen along with a pair of Kestrels, a Song Thrush, a Goldcrest and 3 Pheasants. The Cettis Warbler was heard calling in the usual place but there was no sign of the Water Pipit along the beach although the Rock and Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails present were being blown about like leaves in the strong wind.
The beach has taken more of a battering in the recent rough weather, I'm not sure if the Sea Kale has survived but the Phragmites is still hanging on. A single Portuguese Man O'War was found washed up on the beach and amongst the seaweed mass were Edible Crab and Spider Crab shells.