Sunday, 5 February 2017

Blowin' in the Wind

Drove out to the Memorial Car Park along Torcross Line on Friday morning for a lazy seawatch. It was a near gale force SSE wind, seen it a lot worse but it was near high tide and from the car you were pretty much eye level with the sea. Felt a bit like being on the Roscoff ferry what with the car rocking which made seeing things hard. In truth there did not seem to be a lot moving, good numbers of Kittiwkes and a few Fulmars well out, quite a few auks closer in, all heading south. I abandoned the car park and headed home when the rain got torrential.
By the afternoon the weather had improved a little and I ventured down to Charleton Marsh. The Grey Wagtail was still in the sewage works and now 14 Chiffchaffs including the probable Siberian. Tried to photograph it but no luck. If its not on the filter bed its furthur away at the back of the compound but I reckon it will stay a while yet. Spent an hour and a bit in the hide. 77 Wigeons, 7 Teals and 6 Pintails were on the scrape. On the estuary a couple Greenshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and 200 Dunlins were the highlights. Anyone wanting to get a good view of a Water Rail should head for the hide, if you wait a while there is one that invariably shows well below the feeders. Some reed cutting will be taking place on the marsh on Tuesday, work means I can't do my share but I hope the weather is good for the people who go.
The weather today could not be more of a contrast. I went to Slapton, still on a Scaup hunt. Did the Ireland Bay walk where there are still good numbers of wildfowl along with 18 Little Grebes and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Highlight was a male Scaup just off the pillbox.

                                                       Male Scaup in Ireland Bay, off the Pillbox

Then tried the Stokeley Hide. Again good numbers of wildfowl including 20 Pochards which is encouraging. Also another Scaup, a distant female north of the hide. Nothing amazing seen but a nice trip out and good that Slapton Ley is having a reasonable winter, its had some poor ones recently with hardly any birds wintering. Hope this is the new norm but I won't bet on it.

                          View of the day, looking south over the Lower Ley towards Torcross and Start Point.

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