BEER TO BRANSCOMBE WALK – SEATON WETLANDS, BLACK HOLE MARSH
WEATHER: wall to wall sunshine, a cold northerly brisk breeze all day. Top temp 15C
Dawn and I were joined by Celia (dawn’s sister) once again as we went for another coastal walk, this time we drove into Devon to the beautiful village of Beer. There is a very popular walk along the south coast path to Branscombe, it is only 2 ½ miles but it is very steep in places and the views along the coast are stunning.
Looking back as we climbed up the hill out of Beer
We arrived at Beer at 10am and set off westward towards Branscombe, the first ½ mile is uphill and it does take your breath at times but the reward once at the top is well worth it. The views along Hooken Cliffs are also breath taking, we took our time and enjoyed the views.
Although this was not a birding walk I did take my bins and found a few species but not many. A few Gannets fished off-shore whilst Ravens and Kestrels drifted along the cliff face. Large numbers of Meadow Pipits were flying along the coast using the grass meadows for cover, I saw over 100 of them at one stage. A single Wheatear was the only other grounded migrant I saw but plenty of Barn Swallows and House Martins flew past heading eastward.
At Branscombe we enjoyed a spell in the sunshine, we ate a snack whilst drinking our hot teas and coffees. It was 12 noon when we set off for the return walk. The climb out of Branscombe is really quite strenuous and culminates in a set of 100 wooden steps to the summit of the cliffs.
looking down to Branscombe beach area
Once we got back to Beer we ate our picnic lunch near the pebble beach, this was followed by a walk into some gardens along the eastern cliffs. Many butterflies were on the wing, dozens of Small Whites littered the gardens and they were joined by Red Admirals, Speckled Woods and a single Common Blue. The best butterfly sighting by far was the CLOUDED YELLOW, I saw at least 6 of them, but none of them settled near enough for a photograph.
the view from our picnic site at Beer beach
We left Beer at 3pm and headed along the coast to neighbouring Seaton where we visited the wetlands just north of the seaside town. We walked to all of the hides at the main part of the wetlands, Island Hide, Discovery Hide and Tower Hide. The main area of the marsh was not as prolific as it was when I visited a couple of weeks ago however I did see some waders. Redshanks, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin were seen from the Island Hide which overlooks the main area of Black Hole Marsh.
Black Hole Marsh
Nothing interesting was seen from the tiny Discovery Hide but a good number of birds sat on the banks of the River Axe as viewed from the Tower Hide. All of the common species of gulls were there in good numbers too, I also added Curlew, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Cormorant and Grey Heron. The east side of Black Hole Marsh can also be viewed from the Tower Hide and whilst looking across towards the Island Hide I picked out a SPOTTED REDSHANK. That was an unexpected but great find and it went straight to being bird of the day.
more views of Black Hole Marsh
looking across the the Ilsand Hide from Tower Hide
Further walking produced a few common woodland species but nothing to write home about. We got back home at 5pm after dropping Celia off in Haselbury Plucknett along the way back.