Sunday 31 March 2024

Plym Bar-wit and Wembury Butterflies

Monday 25th March was a very grey and wet day but with news of a Bar-tailed Godwit sighted on The Plym I togged up in my wet weather gear and headed out to Marsh Mills on the bus for a look. I only saw a single Bar-tailed Godwit on The Plym last year back on May 10th so I was keen to catch up with this one today but hopefully more will make appearances as this year progresses..

The tide was heading in as I walked down to Blaxton Meadow and I figured that the Bar-tailed Godwit, if still present, would appear on the Meadow to roost with the other waders. I sheltered from the rain in the bird hide and began scanning across the Meadow but there was no sign of the Bar-tailed Godwit. Waders were beginning to fly in to roost though and eventually it appeared, looking very smart as it fed amongst the Redshanks.

Blaxton Meadow in the rain

Bar-tailed Godwit and Redshank

Also present were 14 Oystercatchers, 8 Greenshanks, 6 Dunlin, 2 Turnstones and 2 Curlew along with a male Mandarin, 2 Canada Geese, a Grey Heron and Shelducks. Gulls were arriving to roost too and amongst the Herring Gulls present were a few Great Black-backs, an adult Lesser Black-backed, 2 Black-headed and 5 Common.

A male Bullfinch was briefly seen near the viewing platform while out on the nearby river 5 male and 4 female Goosanders were present but with the rain not showing any signs of easing I headed back home to dry off.



Tuesday 26th March was a total contrast with blue skies and feeling warm in the sun as I headed over to Mount Batten to meet my friend Jan for some lunch and a catch up. While waiting for the ferry across to Mount Batten from The Barbican a surprise sighting was a Hummingbird Hawkmoth buzzing around. At Mount Batten there was lots of Sloe Blossom on show and amongst it all were 2 Chiffchaffs having a sing off with each other while my first Willow Warbler of the year was quietly singing to itself in the background.

On returning home I started to feel a bit rough with cold-like symptoms, a COVID test proved negative (I still have a few tests left over from when I worked at Derriford Hospital although they are a few weeks out of date now) but my symptoms worsened and I felt dreadful, the worst cold I've had in years. The weather turned dreadful too, we even had some snow settling on the car roofs outside the house on Wednesday 27th March so I wasn't missing much while being incapacitated.

The weather did improve and my cold symptoms did abate and with Saturday 30th March forecasted to probably be the best day of the Easter weekend I decided to head out to Wembury for a walk despite still not feeling that great and suffering with a headful of snot. On waking up in the morning it was indeed all blue skies and sunshine but as soon as I arrived off the bus at Wembury I was greeted with a heavy shower! It did soon pass and it remained dry and mostly sunny for the rest of my walk but after all the heavy rain we've had this week the footpaths were a complete mudfest again. Saturdays and Sundays are never the best days to visit Wembury and Easter Saturday and Sunday even more so but the muddy footpaths did at least keep all but the most intrepid visitors close to the main beach.

It was very quiet birdwise, the highlights being a male Sparrowhawk over clutching a small bird in its talons, a male Kestrel hovering over the hillside, a pair of Cirl Buntings feeding in the wheatfield, a singing male Blackcap heard with a female seen, numerous Chiffchaffs seen and heard, 20 Oystercatchers roosting along the beach on the high tide and a pair of Peregrines circling high overhead and moving west shortly followed by another female.

I found just one Adder sunning itself but no Common Lizards, there were plenty of Bloody Nosed Beetles about again but just one Black Oil Beetle. A Red Admiral, a Speckled Wood, a Comma and at least 3 Peacock were on the wing in the sunshine and I was pleased to find my first Dark-edged Bee-fly of the year.



Black Oil Beetle


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