Devon Delights

With a birding day out planned for Pete and I today the decision on where to go had to be made. There were three choices, Beeley for Dusky Thrush, Camrose for  Masked Wagtail or Thurlestone for Desert Wheatear. I discounted the Thrush as it has been very elusive over the last couple of days and although a lovely area not much else around to be seen. Also a no for the Wagtail as I have a feeling that it may be around for a while longer giving another chance to get down there. Also I have been down there already this year so again not much else as to go for. That left the Wheatear which had reappeared yesterday after going missing on Tuesday following the unfortunate ringing incident on Monday. So at six yesterday evening the decision was made. A five am start for the Wheatear. After a moonlit drive down on the M5, A38 and some interesting Devon lanes we arrived in the pleasant village of Thurlestone a little after first light. Following a stop at the Post Office to confirm the location of the beach which resulted in me buying a Pain au Raisin and a Sausage Roll soon found the beach car park. After an initial scan of the sea got us Shag, Cormorant and GBB Gull. It was then a short walk to Leasfoot beach which is in a small bay just below the golf course. A couple of Mipits and a Pied Wagtail flew over us on the way along. An initial scan of the sand and seaweed found nothing other than a couple of Crows. We then walked the length of the beach which only took a couple of minutes, this found us just a single Rock Pipit. We then scanned the cliff and edge of the golf course before heading back along the beach. Two birds flew over and landed a little way ahead of us. The first was a Pied Wag, the second was the Wheatear which proceeded to give us great views as it flitted about. At one point landing just a few feet from us. After a couple of minutes it flew off and we weren’t able to find it again. A fabulous bird and another lifer for me. After another check of the sea we headed off to Broadsands via Slapton and the Dartmouth Ferry. Not much seen at either other than a few Gannets. As we arrived at Broadsands it started to rain which hadn’t been forecast. A wander along the hedgerows got us Bullfinch, Chaffinch, some tits but no Cirl Buntings. Some time checking out the bay was more productive with Great Northern Diver, two each of Black-necked Grebe and Razorbill and several Fulmars found. Unfortunately ther was no sign of the scoters. Another look at the hedges added Chiffchaff but again no Buntings. So it was onto Labrador Bay which is south of Torquay where the RSPB reserve which is another Cirl Bunting hotspot. When we arrived it was still raining with quite a strong wind. Sitting in the car eating our lunch looking out gave us little confidence that we would find much. After food it was out for a not so pleasant stroll on the reserve. Initially, other than a Blackbird nothing was seen but then at our chosen furthest point before heading back to the car a small flock of birds flew up from a field into the hedgerow. Despite the poor light and rain we managed to pick out eight or nine Cirl buntings. Another great result. It was now gone two and our next stop was to be Bowling Green Marsh at Topsham where an American Wigeon has taken up residence. We set up in the fabulous new hide and proceeded to scan through the many Wigeon in front of us. We found Blackwit, Redshank and a Snipe but no American Wigeon. Deciding to walk along to the estuary we found another flock of Wigeon in the next field, again no joy. In rapidly fading light the estuary gave us Curlew, Dunlin, Barwit and many Avocets.  Another look at the Wigeon as we walked back to the car was unsuccessful so we headed off, slightly disappointed, back to the motorway and home. But no worries it had been another good day covering three hundred and fifty miles, with fifty-seven species, one lifer and a year-tick. Best of all was confirmation of our choice of bird to go for as neither the Thrush or the Wagtail being reported today.

2 responses to “Devon Delights

  1. well done Malcolm a cracking bird

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