THREE DAYS OUT: ONE IN DORSET, ONE IN DEVON (INCLUDING IKEA) AND ONE IN SOMERSET
WEATHER; for the last 3 days we have had all day sunshine, with very light winds and low temperatures. Today it started off very foggy which cleared in the afternoon.
SUNDAY 5TH FEBRUARY
UPLYME TO LYME REGIS WALK, ALONG THE RIVER LIM
Before we reached Uplyme was thought a nice brisk walk around Lambert's Castle would be nice on this clear, still day. However, along the ridge it was quite chilly with a cold breeze upwellng from the valley below. We saw very little birdlife until we reached the ancient orchards where a good sized flock of 25+ Chaffinches roamed, I searched for Brambling without a sighting. We also saw Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits and heard both Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker.
Dawn and I then had a fabulous walk along the river Lim from Uplyme to the beach at Lyme Regis, it was sheltered from the breeze and quite warm in the sunshine. I took my binoculars, but in actual fact I hardly used them, because we never saw much at all. The beach front was packed with day trippers but we managed to find an outdoor table at the Royal Standard were we enjoyed a sizable portion of moussaka (highly recommended) whilst sitting in the sun. We then walked to the end of the Cobb for our usual search for Purple Sandpipers.
the extension to the break-water at the end of the Cobb where the Purple Sandpipers are usually found at high tide
It was a very low tide, there was no sign of the purps, but we did see a couple of Ringed Plover, quite a few Rock Pipits, a small flock of 8 Ruddy Turnstones, Cormorants and Herring Gulls. A few Pied Wagtails danced along the Cobb jumping for kelp flies as did the Rock Pipits on the beach.
Dawn taking her pictures of Lyme Regis
a view of the Jurassic Coastline from the Cobb looking eastward, Golden Cap is the highest peak visible.
The walk back to the car was also disappointing, we dipped on a coffee as the queue at our favourite cafe was enormous, we also dipped on Dipper, but we saw a single Grey Wagtail.
MONDAY 6TH FEBRUARY
DEVON - BOWLING GREEN MARSH AND THE RIVER EXE
The saga of our dining room chairs continues! Which meant another journey to IKEA!! During our last visit we purchased our final chair (it had been out of stock for months) and when we got it home it was the wrong shade of brown, doh!! Today we made sure we got the right shade as we exchanged the wrong one for a new chair (at no extra cost), our visit also did not involve going into the showrooms at all, phew!!! A lucky escape, wallet still intact!
From there we drove to Clyst St Mary near Topsham and parked the car at the Dart's Farm complex. We then walked to Bowling Green Marsh, noting Brent Geese, Cormorants, Redshank and Meadow Pipits along the way. Once again we arrived at the wrong time, low tide! The marsh at Bowling Green was virtually devoid of waders and I had very little chance of seeing my target species the Spotted Redshank.
Bowlinmg Green Marsh
A Spoonbill was nice to see although it remained fast asleep for the duration of our visit to the hide. We saw lots of Pintail, Teal, Shovelers, Wigeon, a few Tufties, Pochard and Gadwall. The muddy fringes to the water were dotted with Common Snipe feeding like mechanical toys as they probed the muddy margins with their long bills. We watched a couple of Curlews, Black-tailed Godwits and a few Redshanks before we moved on.
there is a Spoonbill in this picture, trust me!
At Goat Walk we sat on the sun-drenched benches enjoying the warmth of the sun and the spectacle of the River Exe at low tide. It was covered with thousands of birds. Over 1,000 Black-tailed Godwits fed out there with dozens of Redshanks, Curlews, Dunlin, Avocets, Common Shelducks and gulls.
Black-tailed Godwit on ther banks of the River Exe
A bird of prey put the lot of them up, including huge numbers of both Lapwings and Golden Plovers, I never the saw bird of prey but assumed it was a peregrine.
We walked into town and whilst Dawn drooled over the beautiful houses I took every opportunity to scan the river to look for the Spotted Redshank, without luck.
Curlew at Topsham
We ate lunch in 'THE CAFE' along the high street and afterwards set off back to Bowling Green Marsh. Even fewer birds were seen from the hide during this second visit, but we had great views of very close-up Pintails, Curlews and Common Snipe.
Can you name any of the ducks in this picture? I think Fred is in there somewhere?
The River Exe looking from the Quay at Topsham, down river
We got back to the car at 3pm and returned home before 4pm.
TUESDAY 7th FEBRUARY
SOMERSET - THE LEVELS NEAR HAM WALL
The Lesser Scaup is still about on the levels and after my very poor sighting of it last week (in the fog) I returned for a second bash and to look for the two Glossy Ibis and the two Garganey which are lurking in the marshes at Ham Wall.
The Scaup had returned to its favourite place on a small fishing pond near the Glastonbury side of Ham Wall. Unfortunately for me it was very foggy when I got up!! A major set back for bird-watching as you well know, but I was optimistic and I believed the BBC when they said it would soon clear.
Well, after standing in the freezing fog for almost two hours I gave up and went home! I did see a lot of Tufties, a few Common Pochard, Mute Swans, Great Crested Grebes and Coots, but the Scaup did not venture out of the fog. It did brighten up a few times, but the visibility was attrocious and I dipped the bird. Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blue Tit and a Reed Bunting was all I saw around the reed-fringed pools before I left.
I was home by 11am. So I sat in the garden for an hour, the fog had cleared, a Little Egret stood in the meadow, two Nuthatches were visiting the feeders,as well as Blue, Coal, Great & Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Dunnocks.
Eurasian Nuthatch on my sycamore tree
the lonesome Little Egret in the meadow
this is Fez 2 inn the meadow, he is lucky to be alive - see below
My fairly tame Pheasant (Fez2) came to the garden, I called to him and he came to the door for some sunflower hearts. He is lucky to be alive and if Dawn catches him he will be strangled. Whilst I wasn't looking he pooped on the outside door-mat, I then trod in it, Doh! I walked the very nasty stuff into the hall-way before I realised what I had done. Dawn caught me trying to clean it up. Fez done a runner he must of detected the vibes, I hope he stays away for a good few days!
my garden bully- this cute little blighter thinks he owns all the food in our garden!!