Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A week in Devon

As has been the theme for the last few autumns I tend to have a weeks hols in Devon in Sept allowing me a week to relax with Louise and the dog and not worry about what's being seen in Kent!!
2006 saw a Paddyfield Warbler at Seasalter that fortunately didn't show to the masses and I survived that year. 2007 saw another Paddyfield this time at Bockhill which I managed to get home for on the Sat afternoon and enjoy this mega bird. 2008 was the year of the Zit as Mr Burton kindly found a Fan tailed warbler whilst I was driving through Plymouth,this time distance beat me and I dipped! 2009 well would you believe it, Mr Tufty was still fresh in my mind whilst Cockles the Booted Kite tormented me as I enjoyed a relaxing day at Beesands to the constant sound of my mobile and the dog barking. Fortunately this time the bird was re identified as a Black Kite and even though the incredible Zit had made another appearance at Pigswill Bay I manged to enjoy my time in Devon, relaxed, good pasties, ice creams, a well deserved break from work and some good birds thrown in as well.
Stonehenge is always a good sight as you drive along the A303 and this time I thought we'd stop to pray to the Zit Gods and another Kent tick...............NO CHANCE

Incredible as it may seem a quick peruse of the Birdguides website revealed that 6, yes SIX Messy Ibi has made landfall at Seaton, Devon home of the Haig and top seawatching spot. As we drove through Chard, Somerset, the place name rang a bell but I failed to remember why to start with. On arrival at Seaton the Glossy Ibi were on view feeding with Curlew and following the recent Stodders bird were a welcome sight and well worth the A303 diversion. Mr Haig was not on view though and it was then that I realised that Chard was the home of the Egret, a Great white only 12.3 miles away. Following a last look at the Ibis as they flew off on route to Duffy's friends house Dorset, I noted that a large white camouflaged brimmed has was on view, a good move in the superb sunny weather. In the absence of a white hat though the small child has hidden himself under a coat to avoid the harmful UV!
The Seaton 6( part of)
The GWE at Chard initially proved hard to locate on the small Chard Res, and it became apparent that a big white gleaming Heron on a small Res isn't always easy to find, but persistence paid off and I located this monster of a bird that was doing better than the local danglers and their fishing rods
Of course the punishment for all this 'holiday' birding was a detour back to the Hee Haw Sanctuary at Sidmouth, which allowed me and the dog some kip whilst Louise had her donkey fix. Once at home in our cosy cottage near Kingsbridge we had a superb cream tea and sat down to watch yep, you've guessed it ........... the X Factor.
The week passed by and was very enjoyable bar, Mr Zit, Blocky the Beagle and a couple of Wryneck dips.
This Dotterel at Bolberry Down, my favourite locality in Devon, I just need to move nearby and I'd be out birding all the time at this great migrant locality home to many a missed rare I expect.

One day we visited Port Isaac, home of Doc Martin and as can be seen from the pap shot above (the Doc wasn't it) the inquisitive tourists trying to take a peek into The Docs house!
Hawaii 5 dog
Port Issac, busy, hot and very touristy.. Dipped Martin Clunes.
A great sign, a no longer constipated dog drops a pebble.
Gadwall at Beesands, another great locality, and another mega place to live, much nicer than Slapton ..........and free parking!
A surprise find one evening off South Huish, a corking adult Red throated Diver just offshore
A Merlin at Bolberry defeated following a scrap with a Peregrine
The Peregrine and prey, in heavy morbid moult (certainly it's last few moments of life). Bolberry, Soar and Bolt Head all great areas superb for migrants with Whinchat, Wheatear, Tree Pipit, Restart, Spotted Fly and the no show Wryneck!
The Royal Oak Pub, Marborough home of Twiggs and Wright way back in 1986 following a Bonelli's Warbler that we twitched in the August
Sunset looking towards Rame
Another surprise and another Ibis, my eighth this year and a good bird at South Huish following an initial dip in the morning
Rocky's Cafe, South Milton Beach !!! No comment

A day out at Wembury and this excellent little Pink Stink with the Starlings
Viewed from Tintagel, Lundy an island I've visited a few times and seen Ancient Murrelet, Veery, Swainson's Thrush, not a bad trio of birds over 3 trips !!
Davidstow airfield, Cornwall MEGA . A Ringed Plover shows well

The long staying Baird's Sand at the airfield (not totally deserted) as we kept being buzzed by small planes as well as an HGV driver having lessons, still a cracking bird though and my first Yank wader at last at Davidstow. Ans so, back To Kent to the delights of Pigswill Bay........but that's another story.

1 comment:

Gavin Haig said...

Good to see you had a fine time in the sunny SW, Barry. I must have missed you by a couple of hours or so. Was the Axe estuary a tick?